If you’ve ever subscribed to a hobby/interest magazine, like Men’s Health or Golf Digest, you eventually start to see repeat articles. Sure, they’re not word-for-word reprints, but titles like Washboard Abs in 8 weeks (doesn’t work, by the way) or Fix Your Slice Now! (don’t know about this one, I hook the ball) inevitably reappear every so often.
So it is with the running magazine summer issues and the Beat the Heat articles. I guess bloggers are similar. Normally, I’d consider putting this article out in May as a precursor to the summer. This year, though, summer doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave us here in South Carolina. I think today’s high (early September) was around 95. And the humidity has been relentless. This is actually quite normal in my state, but I think as my age increases, my tolerance for the heat decreases.
Since I do live near a city (Columbia, SC) that once used the slogan “Famously Hot”, and I have been running in the heat all summer, I feel more than qualified to rehash these suggestions for running in the heat:
1. Avoid the “heat of the day”. Around here that pretty much means avoid 9am to 8pm. If you go early it usually means a slightly lower temperature but higher humidity. If you go late in the day, the temperature is higher and the humidity is lower. Still not a dry heat here, though.
2. Run slower. A lot slower. Even walk some. Maybe it is an age thing, but the heat really hammers me. In the past summers, I’ve pushed myself to run my cooler weather faster paces. Now, I just accept the fact that that my body slows in the heat.
3. Drink up. Before, during, and after. I’ve really made a conscious effort on hydration over the last few months. I’ve realized it is best for me to make hydration part of the overall fitness routine. Sometimes it is hard to drink that water instead of a Diet Dr. Pepper, but I make it most days (I’m currently off soft drinks completely!) During runs, especially those over 45 minutes, I make sure I have water with me or in the mailbox on a pass by.
4. Clothing. Not optional. I think everyone over 30 should run with shirts on. That being said, the standard lighter colors and moisture-wicking story applies here. Avoid cotton – in socks, especially. I almost always run with some kind of headwear, too. I’ve been leaning toward visors lately, but I’m also a fan of the Original Buff from Buff Headwear. This is an update on the old cotton do-rag. It is moisture wicking and can be configured several ways to provide different varieties of head and neck protection. Does a great job of keeping the sweat out of my eyes.
5.Find some shade. Two options here. A. Stay Indoors. If you have a treadmill in the house or access to a fitness center, sometimes this is the best option, especially as temperatures climb over 90. B. Hit the trails. I like this option better than staying indoors, but traveling to trails can prove time consuming.
6. Go short. Occasionaly, I catch myself scoffing at a mere three-mile run. I’ve learned to accept that running shorter is OK and sometimes wise. If you must do a long run, consider splitting it. Run half in the morning and half late in the evening.
So, that’s it. No big surprises here. Just use some common sense and be safe. Just think about how good it will feel in October when the humidity breaks. What are some ways you’ve found to beat the heat? Leave a comment below. Thanks!