This week summer arrived with a vengeance. I don’t think we had any feels like 100*+ days, but I know that one day had a feels like of 98*. Seriously, Virginia, no need to be precocious. We do not need August weather in June, thank you very much. But we all know that the heat is coming and will be here to stay soon. It’s pretty much always hot in Virginia in July and August. After living here 30 years (holy cow, how did that happen???), I still complain about it, but I know how to deal with it.
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Since I’ve given tips for running in the heat and tips for planning your runs in the summer previously, now I’m going to tell you what not to do. Want to know how I know what not to do? Because these are all mistakes that I’ve made, most of them more than once. Learn from my stupidity.
- Don’t forget the sunblock – I am seriously the fairest of the fair. My untanned skin is fish belly white. Not only does forgetting the sunblock cause weird tan lines and increase your risk of skin cancer, it also can be seriously painful. Places I’m most likely to not cover well enough: my cleavage and the tips of my ears.
- Don’t do a long out and back – It’s tempting on a hot day to use an out and back as a way to force yourself to run the required number of miles. Don’t do it! Or at least make sure you have a bailout option. (And money and/or a water bottle.) That two mile walk when you just have nothing left in the tank because the heat sucked it all out of you is not the one you want to take.
- Don’t go without water – Take that handheld or make sure you have water options on your route. Flirting with dehydration is just stupid. And if you are a salty sweater, consider an electrolyte option. (And make sure to get some electrolytes when you get back…)
- Don’t overdress – My yard is super shady, so I often walk out the door and think it’s not that hot. A half block later, I’m reevaluating that thought. Anything over 60* means a tank top for me and over 90* means I’m likely to remove that and run in my running bra. I don’t care if people see my squishiness, but I do feel bad about the blinding glare of my untanned abs. So far no drivers have crashed due to the light reflecting off my belly, but it could happen…
- Don’t obsess about your pace – There are plenty of charts out there about what the heat and humidity do to your pace. Believe them. While I don’t completely stop doing hard workouts in the summer, I try to rely more on perceived effort. If I’m trying to do speedwork and I feel like I’m putting in a hard effort on a hot and humid day, I don’t freak out if the pace is not what I wanted. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body.
Bonus: Don’t go to the beach the day before a half marathon. Yes, I did that the day before my very first half marathon. Let me tell you that running dehydrated was not the most pleasant experience ever. I don’t recommend it.