Living in Florida has many perks. Both Christine and Shelby make it very clear that we are warm-weather runners and our threshold for cold is well, weak. While we may not have blistering cold temps, snow, or a need to layer up in the winter months, during summer the bill arrives and we get hotter than the surface of the sun.
But alas, our puddle of sweat loss is your gain our dear sweet runners. All of those salty, sweaty miles haven't been in vain as it has made us experts in how to not only survive but THRIVE running in the heat & humidity.
Let's dive into that crystal clear and cold deep end of the pool and let the knowledge flow like the post-run beverage you should all be partaking in! *If you need hydration recommendations we also have you covered!*
Use your brain: Experts say anything over 80 degrees puts you at risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Often as runners, we push our bodies just that little bit further, a bit longer, and a bit faster. When the temps are higher, our brain temperature rises as well which can lead to dizziness, disorientation, and changes in our motor control (form and cadence will take a hit). Heat stroke is a serious medical condition that can sneak up on you faster than a fartlek so be sure to watch for the warning signs and if you start to feel dizzy, stop, take a walk break, and maybe call for a ride home.
Adjust your pace: To be clear, you don't magically lose fitness in the summer. However, due to the heat and humidity, your paces will be harder to hit than it was a few months ago. There are a few different variables that cause this such as high humidity preventing your sweat from evaporating and therefore doesn't cool you down. That lack of cooling has your body going into "work mode" which elevates your heart rate to try to keep you cool. What does that mean for runners? That "easy" paced run a few months ago at the low heart rate is now at a high heart rate which therefore makes it a harder effort.
Keith Hanson, part of the Hanson Method, says you can expect to add at least 15 sec per mile when the temps climb above 80. While it's not always a fine-tuned science, it's a good reminder that there is an inevitable adjustment to be made.
Rethink form-fitting clothes: Loose clothing allows for air to circulate and keeps skin cooler. Tighter clothing can act as a vacuum trapping the heat close to you with nowhere to go. Kind of like that one song that is living rent-free in your head on repeat. Also, this is the perfect time to wear light colors or push out of your comfort zone and rock the sports bra confidence. Our favorites also happen to be super cute!!
Buy stock in Vaseline: No really, this is going to be your best friend. Sweat sitting on the skin plus the friction of running is the perfect storm for the dreaded chafing, blisters, and rashes. You don't need the fancily marketed products to avoid the ouch---take a Q-tip, your hand, or paper towels to spread a thick layer of vaseline on the high-traffic areas: Underarms, thighs, chest, ankles, etc. to hedge your bets and avoid an unpleasant surprise during the post-run shower.
Embrace Run Walk: Used by new and seasoned runners alike, this is a great time to dive into Run-Walk Run. By taking those power walk breaks, it allows your heart rate to come down, reset your breathing, and bring that temperature down vs pushing your internal thermostat to the max. There is NO shame in the Run-Walk game and both Christine and Shelby use it on the regular. (We were JUST texting about how it's going to be the only way we will make it through the Summer)
Not sure how to run-walk the right way? Feel free to schedule a complimentary 1:1 intro call with either of us by emailing Info@timeforbrunch.com
Pick the right time of day: Early mornings and evenings will be your best friend even though you may dislike them. The first choice would be morning since they will usually always be cooler since the sun hasn't been out and baking everything in sight for hours on end. Evenings would be the second choice due to the lack of sun but keep in mind that the heat from the full day can still linger along with the humidity. Both options are better and more desired than trying to go outside during your lunch break.
Stay inside: No, we aren't saying be a couch potato but we are asking you to re-think your love-hate relationship with the treadmill. Even with some pitfalls of treadmill running, it allows you to get your miles in minus the same risks of overheating, playing temperature roulette, or worrying about dodging the afternoon storms as we have in Florida. Christine and Shelby both admit that while it's not our first choice (as we heavily discuss here), there are times when it is the best and safest option.
Focus on time vs miles: If the heat is too much to bare, bring it back down to the bare necessities of time over miles. Especially with paces taking a hit, you can grow your stamina and endurance without digging yourself into a hole. Focusing on the amount of time on your feet vs the mileage can take some of the pressure off, head off heat issues, and still give you the benefits of going outside without overdoing it.
Still have questions? Need help troubleshooting your running back to its factory settings? Give us a shout at Info@timeforbrunch.com and be sure that you are on our mailing list to receive all the knowledge drops coming throughout the summer.
Above all else, remember that this truly is a season. You may feel like your fitness is lacking, you may feel like your running has changed overnight, and you may be tempted to give up. We are here to tell you that not only will the temps eventually even out, but these months of hard runs will lead to a fantastic Fall season. Keep running, keep the faith, and know that our bRUNch table is open for help, tips, and motivation for all who want to keep running and have FUN!!