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Running in the Heat

There is no denying it has been a tough late spring/early summer for runners in a large portion of the country. For what feels like the millionth time this year, the high for today is forecast to be above 90 degrees here in Columbus, Ohio. As summer continues, those of us training for fall races will be ramping up our mileage as the heat continues to climb. But there is good news! Research suggests that training in the heat can actually have a similar effect to altitude training if done correctly. Follow these 3 tips below to train smarter this summer and emerge stronger and healthier come fall.

  1. HYDRATE. Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning, carry a water bottle with you throughout the day and have a glass of water with every meal. If you have a big sweat session planned for the day (a long run or speedwork), carry water and electrolytes with you either with a handheld bottle or hydration vest/belt. This will prevent you from bonking mid-workout and feeling drained for the rest of the day. If you find yourself craving a salty snack after coming in from a run, go ahead and indulge! Replacing sodium lost through sweat will help your body regulate fluid levels and rehydrate more efficiently. Some of my favorites are a handful of pretzels or salted peanuts.

  2. SLOW DOWN. Make sure your easy runs are still feeling easy! Every 5 degree temperature increase above 60 degrees can slow your pace by as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile. Go by relative effort to guide your runs, don't try to push through at the same pace you ran a few months ago. By keeping it easy, you will ensure that your body is recovering enough to adapt and improve.

  3. NO FUN IN THE SUN. Although you can't avoid the sun completely during the summer, a little bit of planning can prevent it from zapping your training motivation and energy. Plan to run during off hours, either early in the morning or closer to sunset, and choose shady routes when possible. It's always a good idea to throw on some sweat-resistant sunscreen before heading out the door as well.

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