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A while ago, I came across  this article on RunnersWorld.com about a 18 year old boy who had headed out for a speedwork run in the heat and ended up dying from heat stroke…it scared me enough to realize just how serious the dangers are of running in the heat. I know that this is the most extreme case of the consequences, but training in the heat is nothing to take lightly.

Kevin laughs at me a little because I get upset when I see people running out in extreme heat in the middle of the day..we’re talking 95 degrees and I’m seeing people with long sleeved shirts on out running. I know that some people might think that it makes them look tough to run in HOT temperatures but I encourage you to train safely. I wanted to share with you guys some of the things i’ve learned from running in the summer for the past few years that I’ve been a runner…and I’m glad I utilize my knowledge, because its definitely helpful with training for Chicago in this heat!

  • If I know its going to be extremely hot (this is different for some people, but I really try not to run outside if its 90 degrees or hotter..85 degrees is usually my limit), I will wake up EARLY to beat the heat. You could also wait for later on in the day when it cools down some, but in my opinion, the ground is still radiating the heat of the day and I still find it extremely uncomfortable. The most important thing is not to go running in midday when the temperatures are the hottest. This time is usually from 12-3 pm. For instance, today I had 12 miles on my training plan, so I was up at 5 am to hit the pavement. I got a lot of my run done before the sun was really up, so although it was still hot, I wasnt that horribly uncomfortable.
  • Dress safely. Wear sweat wicking light materials and wear a mesh hat or a visor to keep the sun out of your face. I personally wear a visor!
  • Lather on the sunscreen…believe me, I slather on SPF 50 and I still get rather tan. I’m out there for a while and I need to protect my skin 🙂
  • This year I bought a handheld camelbak that i’ve been using on my runs when its hot…its a lifesaver: 

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Before that though, I used to make sure I had a place on my route to always stop for water. I’ve also heard of people stashing cold water bottles along their route before going for their run…Do what you have to do to keep hydrated! I also like to pour cold water onto my visor and/or head during my run to cool myself down

  • Try to stick to shady areas during your run…the more you limit being in the sun, the better.
  • The humidity is what kills you even more then the actual heat..it hinders your ability to wick the sweat away from you. Be mindful of the humidity percentages of the day.
  • SLOW down! Dont think you are going to be at your speediest in the heat…I personally dont do speedwork in intense heat, its better just to hit the treadmill if necessary.
  • Listen to your body! If you start feeling lightheaded, dizzy, disoriented, or if your hands/feet start swelling, stop! Its not worth it to hurt yourself just to get through a run.
  • Weigh yourself before your run and then right after…whatever weight you lost is how much water you lost. I then know how truly dehydrated I am and make sure to hydrate throughout the day accordingly. I personally sweat a lot, so this is always useful for me.
  • You might find that you have salt on your skin after you are done…yes, you lose a lot of salt while you are running sometimes! Its important to pay attention to getting some salt in during that day or something with electrolytes to help balance it out. I remember at one of my half marathons they had salt packets at some of the aid stations! 😉

I think the most important thing is to just listen to your body and be safe. There are times during the summer where I definitely hit the treadmill instead of running outside…sometimes its just too sweltering. I DO try and do my long runs outside though, because long runs on the treadmill are the worst thing ever to me. Its worth it to me to get up earlier and get it done safely and as comfortably as possible. 

12 miles done and done today! The runs are going to start getting LONGER from here on out so here’s hoping the heat isnt too terrible…I refueled with a delicious smoothie afterwards!

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This was a Chocolate PB cup smoothie recipe from the lovely Julies blog! It hit the spot, nice and refreshing after being in the heat for a good two hours!

Hope everyone stays safe in the heat this weekend…It’s going to be 102 degrees today, ugh!