Run Through the Summer Heat to Victory

by Mackenzie M. | June 15th, 2012 | Running

From personal experience, I know that there are few physical activities more horrific than trying to run two miles on a blisteringly hot New Orleans morning. The humidity, oppressive heat, and inevitable dehydration make finding motivation to run extremely difficult. This is a problem for runners all around the hot parts of the country, where training in the excruciating can feel like nothing short of torture. However, I recently found some articles that claim that pushing through the heat and humidity will actually pay off in the end, especially when running races.

Runner’s World Magazine once told a story of a woman in Dallas who trained every day in the summer months where the overnight temperatures rarely drop below 75 degrees. She gets up every morning and runs around 10 miles in the bright morning sun. She acknowledges that it is nothing short of painful, but also acknowledges the multitude of benefits. After training in the Dallas heat all summer, running a fall marathon in cool Minneapolis is nothing short of simple. Going from training in extreme heat to running in cooler weather gives the runner a major boost, both mentally and physically.

To be able to perform in the heat, you must practice in the heat. Obviously not all of us who go for runs in the muggy south are training for marathons, but it is incredibly simple to begin, if we so choose. Researchers have tested athletes trained in het versus those trained at normal temperatures, and the ones trained in the heat performed five to seven to even twenty percent better. Even the Florida State University’s cross country team runs in the heat on purpose, but also takes safety precautions to prevent any heat-related injuries.

For the average daily runner, the point is not to run until heat stroke sets in. There are several tips to train through the heat without taking it to an extreme. Some of the top tips are listed below.

-Run early, right around sunrise.
-Run on shaded paths or trails.
-Wear moisture-wicking clothing
-Wear plenty of sunscreen
-Hydrate as much as possible.

By keeping all of these tips in mind, and developing an infallible mental attitude toward the heat, even the most out of practice runner can find success in the heat. It helps to keep in mind that once the cooler days of winter arrive, you will look and feel like a running pro!

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