How to HTFU on your run in the heat

Saturday morning I was all, “Eight miles, no biggie, whatevs”.  Then I started running those eight miles, sweat dripping from my forehead and into my mouth, I call it a salty hydration drop.  It’s hot.  It’s uncomfortable.  By the seventh mile my stomach was doing acrobatics, I wanted to hurl, and I wanted to walk.

Instead of taking that walk break I yelled at myself, “KEEP MOVING YOU WIMP, IT’S JUST ONE MORE MILE, HTFU”.  So I got er done.  This run didn’t have to be that hard.  I have some hot and humid running strategies that need to be revisited this season.

1.  Frozen hat trick.  Buy some ugly hats at a thift shop (yes, they have to be ugly, this won’t work if they’re pretty).  Soak those wet hats and stick em in the freezer.  Before going out for a run, place ugly, frozen hat on your head.  Cold head = better running in the heat.

2.  Bandanna ice wrap.  Buy some ugly bandannas (you know the drill) at a thrift shop.  Fold a bandanna in half, place ice cubes neatly in a row, roll it up, and tie it around your neck.  Make a fashion statement and keep cool on the run.  Win, win.

3.  At each mile, pour some water on your head and let it drain down your back.  Said water comes from your handheld, your hydration belt, or public water fountains.  Not only does it feel good, you look really cool, like a hardcore runner who knows their business.

4.  Route your run in shady neighborhoods.  Not shady as in hookers and hoodlums, shady as in out of the sun.  Today I rerouted my run to stay in a shady neighborhood, and it helped.

5.  Hydrate.  This should be obvious.

6.  Go early, go late, ’nuff said.

7.  Buy spray-on sunblock.  This way, if you’re home alone before heading out for a run, you can spray those out of reach areas on your back that you wouldn’t get with sunblock lotion.

8.  Keep running outside and let yourself get acclimated to it.  Last year I did a half marathon in August.  I overheard a lot of people during the run complaining about the heat and humidity, I saw people who looked absolutely miserable out there.  I felt fine, it was actually less humid weather than I had trained in prior to the race.  My guess is that the people who looked miserable trained on a treadmill at the gym.

9.  You don’t necessarily have to slow your pace in the heat.  Your sense of perceived exertion is distorted because your body is working twice as hard to keep cool and moving.  I’m not the scientist though, read the full article here.

ice ice steena Got it?  Do you have anything to add to this?  Are you ready to sweat buckets and love every minute of it?  I know I am, BRING IT!!


8 thoughts on “How to HTFU on your run in the heat

  1. Ugh. These are great tips. I don’t think there’s much shade on my Half course tomorrow, or at least I know there are several miles in full sun. I definitely will pour water on my head at water stations to cool off. I like the icy bandana trick. I think I have a few ugly ones in my bottom dresser drawer.

  2. Excellent article…We have been over triple digits at home (I’m still on vacay, but it’s just as hot down here in South America) and with the humidity it’s even worse. I’ve had to resort to the track where I can keep a stash of cool ice water to mimick the mile “rescue” stations….huge motivator in these temps…

  3. This is definitely something to think about. Lots of runners make themselves sick in the summer or skip too many workouts.

    Living in FL and having participated in several years of summer races, I’ve got plenty of experience and I’ve done too much research on this subject.

    The first thing to know is that, yes, you must slow down. Your heart will increase and can spike when running in the heat. The article you link-to suggests that your muscles won’t get the same workout. That’s true. Switching to biking in extreme heat can allow you to get a better workout.

    The three best tips I can suggest are 1) getting yourself cool before your start (frozen snacks, cold shower), 2) running in shade, 3) start your run slow and finish hot (don’t get hot early in your run), and most importantly 4) soaking yourself before you start and throughout your run.

    Some people around here will also insert ice under their running hat, on top of a sponge.

    I always wear a heart rate monitor for summer tempo runs. At some point, the heat will take over, and I might have to run 2mph slower than normal to avoid exceeding 90% of max heart rate.

    Best of luck to everyone. Happy Running!

  4. Definitely some good tips there Steena. Also make sure you are well hydrated before the run and carrying some sports drink which will encourage you to drink more, give you electrolytes, and help your body absorb more of the water.

  5. Great post! There’s that saying, you can’t race in it if you don’t train in it. I like to run in the morning, especially in the summer when it gets really hot here in San Diego. But even then, sometimes it’s unbearable. I like your idea about the ice. I guess I need to go to a thrift store; all my bandanas are purdy.

  6. I use the bandana trick – just slightly modified as we don’t have ice cubes in our house. I get the bandana good and wet then toss it in the freezer for a bit. Having a wet bandana is nice for wiping the salt crystals off your sweaty face too!

  7. First time visiting your blog after seeing you comment on Coutenay’s, so I’m rollng on my back and asking the underbelly question: what does the H in HTFU stand for? I’m pretty sure I’ve got the rest of it. LOL!

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