Sunny days are so welcome here in the PacNW, many runners can’t wait to get out there and feel the sun on their face. But suddenly going from chilly workouts to baking ones can really affect a runner. And consistently training in the cool comfort here when anticipating an event in a warm vacation spot can require some strategic planning.
It takes 7-14 days to acclimate to the heat. One way to accelerate this process is to run inside on a treadmill for 10-14 days before changing climates to help get your body used to the heat. That may mean you have to start training “hot” before you know the forecast of your race. You can also pile on extra layers to simulate a warmer environment.
Simple Tips for the Switch to Warm Weather Running
Hydration is key and it is not as simple as keeping a water bottle with you on a warm day. Start planning up to 24 hours in advance by upping water intake and limiting alcohol. Drink a glass of water 20-30 minutes before your run. If you are in the habit of having caffeine before exercise for energy and a metabolism boost, note that it causes you to generate more heat and it increases heartrate, exacerbating the heat's effects.
Plan your routes with water stops, even if you are carrying some. Rinsing your face and neck is a great way to cool off quickly.
You do need plenty of water on a hot day, but a sports drink while running is especially vital when you are sweating your electrolytes and sodium away. Some people may avoid sugary sports drinks, but these hot conditions are really what these sports drinks are perfect for. The simple sugars keep your energy up and the electrolyte and sodium replacement is quick and simple during your run.
Dress in light colored, loose clothing made of a performance fabric. No cotton T-shirts, which hold onto sweat and get heavy and uncomfortable. A hat keeps the sun out of your eyes and shades your forehead, or consider a visor.
Since acclimation takes time, do realize you will have to adjust your pace under new conditions. Running in temps above 60 raises your core temp and puts more stress on the body. Some of your resources will be diverted to cool you down and you simply won’t have access to all your energy as you fight to keep yourself cool. Jeff Galloway, a well known running guru, writes that you should expect your race pace to be affected from 3-20% as the temperature rises progressively. Even training runs must taken more slowly. Adjusting your expectations in the heat will help you enjoy the weather.