Can the heat keep you from working out? Not if you continue to do it intelligently and prudently.
Of course, you will have to pay attention to schedules and protection.
Never forget that going slower is wise and normal: in hot weather, performance decreases considerably.
As every year, the heat in summer is unforgiving and right on time. While the days are getting longer and it is more pleasant to be outdoors while also having many more hours of light, the time intervals in which it is responsible to run so are getting shorter.
If, however, like us, you don’t know and don’t want to give up running even in hot weather, some tricks might help you do it safely and without asking too much of your body. Let’s see them.
1. Run at the right hours
You may have noticed that the earth has a curious habit of warming up. That is why, although the irradiance is greatest in the middle hours (around 12-1 p.m., when the sun is at its peak) the really hot hours of the day are from 2 p.m. until about 5 p.m. Hence the best times to go out for a run are early in the morning (already after 10 a.m. is too late) and in the evening. Not neglecting the fact that running at sunset is a mystical experience that I recommend to anyone.
2. Run indoors
If you can’t run early or late but only have time in the middle hours of the day, or if you don’t feel like running outdoors anyway, the treadmill is the solution. You can continue training in a controlled climate, perhaps with a powerful fan in front of you or, better yet, with the air conditioning on. The great thing about indoor training is that you never encounter any unforeseen events and can control environmental conditions, as well as being able to watch an episode of your favorite TV series in the meantime. The only flaws of indoor running are that it is more boring than outdoor running and that, to practice it, you need a treadmill, which isn’t usally cheap.
I don’t even need to specified it, do I? In summer, however, unlike the rest of the year when a normal 10k workout can be tackled without ever drinking, it is necessary not only to hydrate thoroughly before but also during it, carrying regular or flavored water or your favorite salt supplement. Or choose routes where you know there are drinking fountains, so you can stop for a drink every few miles. And not just drinking: also doing what you find in the next point.
4. Soak your head and neck
One trick that is always effective against the heat is to run with your head covered, and possibly your neck as well, especially the back of your neck. An even more clever trick is to do this by soaking the hat beforehand. While it may be annoying at first, the benefit of it while running is undeniable, besides the fact that as you sweat, it doesn’t make much difference to have your head wet with sweat or water, you soon get used to it anyway.
Why is it important to wet the head? Because it is the surface most exposed to the sun (along with the shoulders) and because it is also the one that exchanges the most heat with the outside. Having a “cold” head also gives the body a feeling of well-being and helps give it the perception that the temperature is a little lower.
5. Choose shady routes
If you run in the city, always choose the shaded side of the road (which is impossible during the middle hours, since the sun is perpendicular and therefore there is no shade) or choose tree-lined areas. Seeking shaded areas can also lead you to run in parks, and thus on grass, making a virtue out of necessity, sincetraining on grass should always be included in a training program.
6. Slow down
The heat is a debilitating factor for your body, which is not only struggling with the exertion of running, but also with the need to shed as much heat as possible so as to keep your body temperature under control. It is inevitable to feel fatigue more distinctly under these conditions. Performance is affected by this and can decrease by as much as 20%. In short, if you go slower, don’t be upset: it is normal and indeed wise not to exert yourself and slow down.
7. Check the humidity
Heat perception is not only determined by the absolute value of temperature. We have recently become familiar with “real” and perceived temperature, and we have understood how different 32° is in the lowlands and mountains. Generally, the following rule applies: the drier the weather, the less you will feel the heat, even the heat that, according to the thermometer, might scare you. As air humidity increases, on the other hand, even tolerable temperatures can become extreme. How and to what extent? Most importantly: how can you figure it out? By reading here and checking the helpful tables attached;)
8. Favor only certain workouts
I know: you have your schedule to keep, and tomorrow you have strides. But you can only train at a time when you already know it will be hot. If you can’t shift your workout, you
may have to change the type of workout you do: doing overly technical and challenging workouts is incompatible with excessive heat, while an easy run may be the solution. The commitment is only postponed, and your conscience can rest easy.
After all, it’s your health that counts: you don’t want to ruin it for the sake of a sense of duty, do you?