Yes it’s hot outside. But it’s also a great time to start getting into some early morning training rituals that will carry you into fall races. These hot temps can actually be one of your best friends as it requires more attention to hydration, fueling, pacing and recovery. While your paces may (and should) slow down due to the heat index and corresponding taxation on your body, these in turn become excellent workouts to zero in on perceived effort.
Hydration is key and running with a hydration belt with sports drink that contains necessary electrolytes will greatly aid your comfort and energy while running and also afterward. The rule of thumb is at least 20 oz for every hour of running. Short run? Still important to run with a water bottle. Nathan makes smaller single bottle belts for those runs with a lot less bulk.
Summer is also a great time to establish early morning workout routines that go hand in hand with longer training sessions for fall distance races. Numerous research studies have shown that people who get up and exercise first thing in the morning are fitter, more likely to stick with their fitness/training programs and weigh less. See the correlations here?
If you’re lacking motivation or disheartened with the slower paces or how crappy you feel after a hot run, try mixing things up. First and foremost, SLOW DOWN. It’s about perceived effort, not pace in the summer. There is even a heat index tool you can use that will show at temps of 75 or 80 degrees your pace SHOULD slow down by as much as 30 sec per mile. But the effort is the same; a lot of your energy is being directed to keep your body cool and functioning. Come cooler temps, your pace will naturally adjust and you will run faster. Virtually guaranteed.
So mix things up. Turn off your GPS and just run for feel. Most people run their easy runs too fast, which often leads to injury and burnout. Start switching things up — make sure no two routes or runs are the same in any given week; pick in a new route or run your usual one in the opposite direction. Invite a friend to go for a run and make sure it’s conversational. If you live near the beach, get up for a sunrise run on low tide days. Adding joy and variety will go a long way toward setting you up for success for fall races and remember life — and running — are really about the journey.