August is a month of intense training for many runners preparing for a fall marathon or cross country season. Unfortunately, in the mid south, August also means high temperatures and unbearable humidity. You will be dripping with sweat before you get to the end of block!
This perspiration is a good thing as it helps cool us off. As sweat evaporates from our skin, it takes heat with it. It's too bad, as the humidity rises, the rate of the body'es evaporation is reduced due to there being so much water in the air. With this self regulating, cooling ability of our body hampered by humidity, you will soon feel overheated and start to slow down your pace.
Despite the misery you feel on a hot August run, there are benefits to continuing to train. In the end, these obstacles will make you a more efficient and faster runner. Your body will make positive adaptations that will make you perform even better in cooler temperatures. So, training in the heat will help you reach that PR in Autumn.
However, we can't just push through the heat and wish for the best. Precautions and modifications must be made to train in the heat.
We have 5 suggestions to help you stay as comfortable and safe as possible during a hot and humid August run:
1. Choose Your Apparel Wisely
Wear lightweight and light colored clothing when you run in the heat. The options these days are endless with vents and mesh to help dissipate heat. Microfiber polyesters or cotton blend fabrics will keep you the coolest.
2. Don't Forget Your Protection
Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a visor should be donned before your run. Protecting your skin and eyes from UV rays helps preserve some of your energy. Why a visor and not a hat you may ask? Well, a hat traps heat while a visor lets it escape through the top of your head.
3. Avoid Midday Heat
Head outside for a run in the early morning or evening hours. Although the humidity here in the Mid South may still be high, the less intense sun will make it more bearable.
4. Stay Hydrated
This is a given, but we always need the reminder! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking at least 8 cups of water a day and then an additional 8-12 ounces about 15 minutes prior to a run.
5. Train Inside if Necessary
If the heat, humidity, or air quality are just too bad, consider running inside. It may not be ideal for your training, but it's better to move inside than take an unnecessary health risk. Heat stroke and dehydration and real problems with real consequences.
So if you want improved performance or a personal best come Autumn, keep up your training routine. But always remember to . . . Train smarter not always harder!
If you have additional questions about hydration, nutrition, or the ideal training schedule for an upcoming race, inquire about our performance, recovery, and wellness package that will get you (and keep you) performing your best. Fill out a short form HERE to get your questions answered!