Hot Enough for You?
I’ll say this up front: I hate, hate, HATE running in hot weather! I hate the heat, I hate the humidity, I hate everything about it. New York City in July is all heat and humidity, so it really cramps my style.
I think that sometimes it’s dangerously unhealthy to run outside when it’s hot and humid—and especially when the National Weather Service announces a heat advisory and/or an air-quality advisory. (Sadly, this happens all too often now.) Even though I run as early as possible in the morning (right after daybreak), the other morning at 7:00 a.m. the temperature was already 79˚F (or just over 26˚C) with high humidity.
My personal high-temperature threshold is about 75˚F, so on hot and humid weekdays, when the gym opens early, I resign myself to a turn on the treadmill. I’m not too crazy about the treadmill, but it beats having heatstroke.
If you have a long training run during this pre-marathon season, I hope you’ll follow some sensible rules:
Stay hydrated! It’s always good to carry a water bottle. If you’re doing an organized long run, like the New York Road Runners marathon-training runs, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop at the fluid stations for water and/or Gatorade. If it’s just you and a few friends, map out your route in advance so that you can duck into a store for a bottle of water or Gatorade or a banana when you need to. And bring extra gels, not just for yourself but also out of common courtesy for your running neighbor who might need one.
Contradictory as this sounds, bring some of those little packets of salt. Your body will tell you when you need it.
Use tons of sunblock, especially on the areas that you might sometimes forget: your face, your chest, your shoulders (front and back), and the tops of your ears. And your arms and legs, of course.
Use a product like Body Glide to prevent chafing from your bra, underwear, and so on. Some people like Vaseline, but I find it too greasy.
Wear a hat and sunglasses, even if it’s cloudy. The hat protects your face, and the shades protect your eyes and help block some of the glare.
Most important, think about what you’re doing. How far along are you in your training? Can you shorten this long run or even skip it altogether? Giving your legs a rest might be a good idea. Go for a swim, or take bike ride at some time of the day when it isn’t so hot. This is where cross-training really comes in handy.
Do you have any other helpful hints and tips? Add them in the comments section below. And as always, please feel free to send me any questions you might have. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Meanwhile, happy running!
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