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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MBE: Summer Running

Monday Brain Exchange is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning.

Question: The heat is on its way (and for some has already made its arrival) and the summer is getting close What are some of your tried and true summer running tips for staying safe and cool in the heat?

Hi, I'm Kim.  I'm the one person who wasn't complaining when it was 28 degrees at the starting line of the Walt Disney World Marathon this year.  I love running in the cold, and I much prefer cold weather to warm.  Hot weather has killed several races for me now, and severely impacts my ability to enjoy a run.  So, while I am happy that summer is coming because when I'm not running I prefer warm weather, I have to take some precautions when it comes to getting out on the trail.

(I'm late doing this and I feel like I'm saying what everyone else has said...  Oh well)

  1. Cotton is Rotten.  Don't wear cotton.  This isn't just for heat, I like to wear technical fabrics at all times. You will be so much more comfortable when you ditch those cotton shirts and shorts and get something better.  Socks, shirts, shorts, and head wear should all be technical fabrics.  Even if you buy just a few pairs or even one set and wash them between, it's better than nothing.  
  2. Take Care of Your Technical Fabrics.  I take care of my running clothes, washing them with special detergent.  I do a load of laundry of only running clothes, using the Win Detergent, and then I take care to sort them all based on their laundering recommendations on the tag (many running clothes are hang dry or dry flat, and many cannot go in the dryer at all).  If I do dry them in the dryer, I do so on delicate (they don't need much heat or time because their whole purpose is that they dry fast).  I never use dryer sheets on my running clothes, since they can keep the technical fabrics from properly wicking sweat.  If you do all of this, your clothes will keep you cool and they will last a very long time (my first singlet purchased in 2005 is still very wearable).
  3. Drink.  Bring water with you on your run if it's over 80 degrees or so and/or if you're going out longer than about 40-45 minutes.  I'm just guessing here, those are my own personal rules, so there may be doctors or trainers that make different recommendations.  Regardless, dehydration can do horrible things and make you feel terrible, so beware.
  4. Hit the treadmill.  What's interesting about Todd and me is that Todd tends to hit the treadmill in winter and run outside when it really gets warm.  I tend to run in 20-30 degree temps no problem, but I'll be on the treadmill once the thermometer starts pushing 90.  The treadmill is more comfortable, so use it when you need to.
  5. Do the salt.  I'm a big fan of the Running Doc, and he recommends taking salt packets with you when it is hot.  This prevents you from getting hyponatremia.  Basically, take one salt packet under your tongue at the beginning of the race, and then again in the last half of the race.  See more info.
  6. Seek Shade.  There's a nice park at the end of my street that has about a mile loop and some wicked hills.  However, it's completely in the sun with few trees.  I prefer the nearby NCR Trail, which is nicely shaded.  If you're gonna be outside, try to find a running route that is nicely shaded.
  7. Love the rain!!  I can understand when it's 50 degrees or less not wanting to run in the rain, but have you ever run in the rain when it's 75 degrees or hotter?  It's truly awesome and keeps you very cool.  Take advantage!
  8. Run in the morning.  I cannot seem to get the hang of doing this really regularly, but I know it to be true.  Morning running is the best time during the summer.  The temperatures haven't risen yet, and everything is so peaceful.  Plus, you're getting your run out of the way.  I do manage to struggle out of bed with my group every Saturday, and I can tell you that our "in the dark" long runs that start an hour or two before sunrise are some of my best running memories.
That's all I can think of for now.  Hopefully, this was helpful!


Staci Dombroski said...

I really need to start running in the morning!!!

marathonmaiden said...

you totally threw me off with the "monday brain exchange" and it's wednesday hahah! but great solid tips! i'm a good morning runner but summer = lots of free time and it's so hard for me to get motivated to get up early if i don't have too!

Christina said...

Some people recommend wearing a visor too. It keeps the sun off but allows the head to breathe.

K said...

thanks for the info on the running gear care. I didn't realize that the dryer/dryer sheets could be a problem. I guess I need to read tags more often.

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