5 Key Summer Running Tips
Training in the NYC summer can be pretty brutal. Humidity thickens the air and heat rises off the concrete, creating the perfect storm of tough conditions. Thankfully, if you’re training for a fall race, these tricky conditions can teach your body to cope and work more efficiently, and you can mentally look forward to feeling light and free in the cooler temps of your race.
There is a myriad of physiological adaptations that your body goes through when training in the heat, like increased blood plasma volume, increased perspiration, and decreased blood lactate. Read on for a few tips to safely get through those long runs this summer.
Slow down. These are the words every runner loves to hate, especially when you’re trying to get back to the nice A/C in your apartment. But, typically if temps are above 70-80 degrees and/or humidity is above 60-70%, you’ll want to decrease your pace by 3-5%. The heat can cause your heart rate to increase significantly while running, so you may feel like you are working just as hard as if you were running faster but in cooler temperatures. Check out the chart below to help you figure out how much slower you should be running based on the heat index of the day. If the math is too complicated, go off of your perceived exertion levels. And don’t worry - your fitness will not suffer and your speed WILL return when it cools off!
RULE OF 8
Before 8 AM or after 8 PM is when the sun is less strong and temperatures come down. Try to plan your runs for these times to beat the heat!
Consistent hydration is crucial, even on your days off, to help your body respond better to exercise. Plan your route so that you have access to water or electrolytes, whether that is by staying close to home, running with a handheld bottle, or keeping cash on you for a quick bodega stop. Another trick: studies have shown that eating a popsicle or something frozen can help cool your core body temperature right before your run!
Light-colored clothing can help reflect light rather than absorb it. Wearing a hat or visor can help keep your head cool, which in turn affects the rest of your body. Pro tip - if you start overheating, dunk your hat in a water fountain for a nice cool head shower. Looser-fitting clothing also allows for better airflow. If you decide to shed the layers and go out in minimal clothing, don’t forget the SPF!
As you continue to run in the heat, your body will acclimate and it will get easier. But, that doesn’t mean you can relax! If you have an off day with nutrition or hydration, or you went out the night before and your body is still recovering, these factors can put your body back into a high-stress mode. Be cognizant of negative symptoms while running such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, and chills - these can be signs of heatstroke, and you should seek shade and emergency help immediately.
If you find yourself in this situation, get inside as soon as possible, and ask someone to run for ice packs. Place these ice packs on your neck and around your trunk to bring your core temperature down as soon as possible - and don’t be afraid to call for emergency medical services if you are worried!
Our bodies are amazingly adaptive and can handle the demands of summer running with a little bit of extra planning and support. Be safe out there!
Come have some Type 2 fun with MOTIVNY at our next summer long runs on August 20th - we take care of the hydration and nutrition support along the way so that you can chase that pavement worry-free.