How I’m Dealing with the Heat

I have ice both in my mouth and in my bra in this picture

In one of my last posts, I mentioned that I feel like I’m starting to acclimate to the heat. And a couple of you asked about that, so I figured I would do a post and share all the smart things I’ve been doing to deal with the heat. Like a boss.

And then … we had a parking lot picnic at work yesterday, which included sitting outside, in 100 degree temps, during the hottest part of the day, in camp chairs on asphalt, with only a canopy shade to keep us “cool.” And then I drove an hour home. Once I got home, I was too exhausted to do much of anything, so I took a nap, and then didn’t want to leave the house for the rest of the evening.

Apparently I’m not as acclimated to the heat as I thought.

But I’m doing my best. And this is what I’ve been doing:

Accept the heat.
I can wish and hope and pray that the temps will magically cool off on the days I have races scheduled. Or, I can just assume they will be hot. The sooner I start mentally and physically preparing myself to race in the heat, the easier it will be on race day, right? (Notice I said “easier” and not “easy.”)

Embrace hot runs. 
Pretty much every list of “how to run throughout the summer” suggests running early in the day, when the temps are the coolest. I don’t do this. It doesn’t really work for my schedule (and my desire to not wake up earlier than I already do). So I just run in the heat, and deal with it the best that I can.

Embrace the heat when you’re not running.
The more time you spend in the heat, the more you get used to it. I try not to hide out in the a/c all day if I can avoid it (and I’m not already feeling heat exhaustion).

I promise I'm wearing clothes
Sometimes when it’s really hot, I just don’t wear clothes. OK, maybe I’m wearing a tube top and my wrap skirt is covering only what’s necessary.

Adjust your expectations.
I’ve talked about running by heart rate many times on here. When then temps are warm, I forget about pace. This article from Runners’ World put it well: don’t make pace your goal, instead run by effort, and let your pace be the outcome. (Which is what I usually do regardless of the weather.)

Also, don’t be afraid to take walk breaks. That does not make you a bad runner!

All those other posts/articles about “how to deal with summer running!” that talk about staying hydrated and running through sprinklers? Do all that stuff. Also, follow a nutrition plan, especially during long runs. Often I’ll be doing a long run and not take a Gu/whatever, because I don’t think I need it, but I’ll take it because it’s been 7-8 miles and it’s humid out, and I know I need it even if I don’t think I do, and always after I take it, I feel better.  Funny how that works.

Listen to your body.
What works for me might not work for you. Everyone is different. Listen to your body. If you start to feel faint/light-headed, stop. Go home. Or call someone to come pick you up. Etc. If you need to keep your run indoors, that’s better than not running at all. Ease into running in the heat.

What else do you do to deal with the heat? 

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14 Comments on “How I’m Dealing with the Heat”

    1. I haven’t seen many sprinklers on when I’m out running, so I think I might just set up the sprinklers in our yard, and do loops around the block …

  1. The heat is crazy. I’m trying to acclimate to it but my plan keeps falling through. This morning I woke up an hour later than usual (7am) to run, took one look at the temps outside and immediately went back to sleep. Running in 90 degree temps isn’t even safe IMO!

    Stay safe out there and enjoy the holiday!

  2. I agree- you must embrace the heat. I really try to go into each spicy run with a good mindset and NO expectations and usually the runs end up being much better than I thought. The speed work is a bit tough to handle outside, but the long runs feel so good in the heat. Love being all sweaty post run- feels like I did something 🙂

    1. I agree, by mile 2 or 3, my body settles into a rhythm and it’s not too bad. And once you’re done and covered in sweat, it is so satisfying!

  3. A few summers ago I took some hot yoga classes when it was super hot outside. After doing that running in the heat and humidity felt so much easier! So, my suggestion for heat acclimation is to do hot yoga in July and August. It works!

  4. I thought I was adjusted to the heat on Monday when I headed out the door feeling great despite it being 85 degrees during my afternoon run, and then today kicked my @$$. For real.

    But like you said, you just have to accept it. My way of doing that has been to get my runs in around 10 am. Today that obviously wasn’t an option…

  5. Ugh a parking lot picnic? Really? Heat has a way of unhingeing me mentally when I run.
    I’m being wuss and staying on the mill during the week but for my long run I get out as early as possible, find as much shade as possible, drink like mofo and go from there. It does up the badass quotient exponentially.

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