If you’re marathon training for a fall goal race, then right about now you’re in the middle of your longest training runs. And we’re also in the middle of the hottest and often extra humid part of the summer, which can make for some very grueling training. Finishing feeling as though you’re swimming in a pool of your own sweat and seeing your pace slow dramatically thanks to the tough heat-wave conditions can be really tough. How to get through this stretch of training in these sweltering temps? Nike Toronto running coach Brittany Moran shares her expert tips.
Time your runs for daybreak or in the evening. The key is to avoid when the sun during peak hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Moran personally prefers mornings because she finds that in the evenings, it can feel like the day’s humidity is still heavy in the air.
Switch your route to shaded ones. “The Martin Goodman Trail in Toronto is great, but there’s not a lot of shade on it,” says Moran. Change from your usual routes to ones that provide you with some cover. She suggests in Toronto the Beltline or High Park as two great options that have trails with more shade. The downtown core, too, is a decent option with all of the skyscrapers and high-rise condos creating shaded streets. Also, don’t forget to run on the side of the street with more shade.
Make sure to stay well hydrated. Hydration is always important, says Moran, but it’s even more essential now when it’s hot out and you’re sweating more. “The rule of thumb is to drink one litre for every 50 lbs of body weight.”
Run on an indoor treadmill. You may find the treadmill boring, but on days where there is a heat warning, running on this piece of equipment in an air-conditioned room is much kinder on your body.
Wear a cap or a visor. Make sure to protect yourself from the sun on these sweltering runs. A cap is the more popular option (and helps to cover your scalp while also keeping the sun’s glare out of your eyes), but a visor can often feel more comfortable on hot days since it allows air flow whereas a cap may feel like you’re trapping the heat beneath it, says Moran. Note: if wearing a visor, be sure to apply SPF to the part in your hair so you don’t get a sunburn.
Use ice and cold water to help keep you cool. Throw some ice cubes into your water bottle to keep your water or sports drink cool. And while you’re at it, you may want to tuck an ice cube or two into your sports bra, says Moran (she’s done this herself during summer runs). Also, when you come across a water fountain out on your run, refill your bottle and make sure to sip some, too, but also splash some on the top of your head, back of your neck, and even to your elbow creases and the inside of your wrist to help bring down your body temp.