I run in the middle of the day due to my work schedule. 70-105 degrees and baking sunshine is not uncommon. I still get it done, and so do a lot of other people according to this runners’ world page. For some reason I still get told that I’m crazy for running outside in the heat. Why? The heat can be conquered.
- Acclimate to the weather. AKA just get it done, because the more often you do it (and in hotter weather) the easier it becomes later. It’s like starting over again, but you get better, faster.
- Slow down. Your pace will drop at first (mine went from an 8:30 min/mile back to my 10 min/mile from last fall), but then will return to near-normal levels after you’ve gotten acclimated. Then, in the fall, you will probably run incredible times. Running through the summer/winter is 80% of what’s made me faster.
- Drink often, but not too much. Bring salts. Hotter weather = sweating more = losing more water and body salts = you gotta put them back in somehow. Gatorade is pretty good, but you can seriously dilute it and still get a good effect. Gus are also nice (but must be taken with water or else you’ll have cotton-mouth for the next 5 miles). You’ll get fatigued faster out there when it’s hotter, so you might need more fuel to begin with. Nuun has some great electrolyte tabs that are slightly fizzy and a great alternative to boring salt tablets.
- Keeping your face and/or wrists wet cools your body temperature. Washing your hands in cool water during a bathroom break will perk you up, and feels glorious.
- If you’re really a wimp, or it’s really really hot, fill a bandana with ice cubes and tie it around your neck. Stick a baseball cap in the freezer and take it out just before you head out. Or if it’s really bad, find a freezing-cold gym and hit the treadmill.
Running in the summer heat is not all that difficult to get used to, and once you do, it’s pretty enjoyable. The bike paths around me are always empty during the heat of the day, so I don’t have to fight with pedestrians for some pavement. Glorious.
If you don’t believe me that it’s doable, watch Running on the Sun, the documentary about the Badwater Ultramarathon which is 135 miles through Death Valley and up Mt. Whitney. There are videos circulating on youtube of participants training for this by running on home treadmills, in parkas, with the heating vent of a dryer directed straight into their home-made sauna.