The weather has been glorious in the UK recently and it's been lovely to get out in short sleeves and shorts for all those training miles. With some record breaking temperatures on the way, I thought I'd write a piece about running in hotter temperatures, staying safe and racing well.
You might have an autumn marathon planned, meaning training through the summer. You might be heading off on a summer holiday soon, but still want to run when you're there, or simply have some summer races where you want to do well.
So let's go!
- In training run by effort, not pace - Ignore your GPS watch showing your pace and look at your heart rate or if you don't have a HR monitor then run on effort or feel. When it's hot your body will be working extra hard to keep you cool, so won't be able to run at your usual paces. So slow down and run at the intensity that feels ok.
- Electrolytes - I take these before and during my runs to help maintain sodium and magnesium levels, which are commonly lost when you sweat. Some products I like are SiS GO Hydro or the Precision Hydration range. Just add them to water.
- Drink to thirst - This is important, as many people get worried and drink loads! If you're thirsty then have something to drink, if not then wait a bit. In road races it's usually best to have little and often, so a few sips at each aid station.
- Early mornings provide the coolest temperatures of the day in the UK and most places round the world.
- Head for the park - Asphalt reflects the sun a lot more than grass, so run on the grass where you can. Plus the park will usually have lots of trees, so you can run in the shade they provide. Check out www.findafountain.org for parks with water fountains too! In London Greenwich, Victoria, Richmond and Regents Park have them.
- Wear technical clothing - it will draw sweat away from the skin to evaporate. Size up as it will allow it to breathe better. Use body glide to avoid chafing with sweaty legs and arms!
- Suncream - I only use waterproof factor 50+. If you start to burn your body will over heat rapidly. I use P20 Suncream.
- Take a handheld bottle if you’re running for 30-60 minutes. Ultimate Direction do some great handhelds. I’d recommend getting a pack for anything longer while the temperatures are 25+ degrees C so you can carry more water with you. I use a Salomon ADV 12 Set.
- Slow down or stop - if you're not feeling it, don't worry! There's no shame in slowing right down or even stopping completely and trying again later on in the day when it's a bit cooler.
- Always run with your phone or a bank card. Just in case you need to get in touch with someone, buy a drink or get the bus home. (It's good to take these on any run really!)
- Treadmill running - if you're really not great in the heat then head for the treadmill and make the most of the gym's air conditioning.
- Hat - Any hat is better than no hat, keep your head protected and out of the sun. Of course a Ben Parkes running hat is the best running hat out there!!
- Post run - I like to refuel with things like bananas, crisps (for the salt), watermelon, chocolate milk, melon... Putting ice on the back of your neck and taking a colder shower will help you cool after as well.
Finally the weather really is one thing we can't control.. it's one of those things that however frustrating it might be, we have to accept. Our friends might run one race in perfect conditions, all get PB's, then at our race a week later, it's roasting and a PB is impossible. (Think London 2018!)
All the best everyone, let me know what works for you and I'll see you soon!