Running on the Surface of the Sun

☀️ It’s that time of year again ☀️

It is that time of year where it takes all the discipline you have to run continuously on the sun. I’m here to tell you, you guys are much stronger than I am because I’m out of here this time of year! The summer humidity takes a ton out of everyone, however, those in the south are in a different kind of hell. The good news is, staying consistent in this type of weather makes you stronger in many many ways.  On the other side of this, you guys will look like completely different runners, in a good way! The key is consistency in training and staying focused. First, let’s talk about the benefits of heat running:

  1. Increased mental toughness. I have lived all over the country and have run in as low as 3 degrees and as high as 104. By far, running in the Florida humidity is the hardest running I have ever done. Making yourself do hard things is a great way to get more mentally tough. Also, if you get a hot race, you will know how your body reacts and know what to do!
  2.  Increased blood plasma. This is what I call the poor man’s altitude training. It stimulates the body similarly to altitude training by producing more blood plasma. This makes you able to have greater cardiac output and a higher VO2 at the same effort. 
  3. Your sweat rate changes and your body begins the sweating process earlier in the workout. This teaches your body to use its electrolytes more sparingly and cool off quicker so when you go back to running in cooler weather you have an even better cooling system than you did previously.  That is until your body adjusts back to the cooler weather. 
  4. Your blood lactate changes. This is minimal but worth mentioning. Once you are heat adjusted, blood lactate accumulation decreases making you faster at the same effort level in cooler weather. This is especially awesome if you can train in the heat, then go run a cooler marathon in the fall. Until your body adjusts back to the cooler weather you will feel like you are a superhero running.

This is all so fun right? Well…….yes and no, it can work for us or it can work against us. How do we make sure we keep this a benefit and not run ourselves into the overtraining burnout cave of dehydration and sickness? Here is how:

  1. Drink. Drink. Drink. Not just water. Find an electrolyte drink you can tolerate and no excuses stay on top of your hydration. You need at least 100 oz a day, plus what you take on your run. If you get behind, you’re not coming back well and may need to take weeks and weeks off. Get a hydration system and set out liquids during your runs or carry a handheld. No excuses, do it. Also, limit alcohol……yeah…..just do it.
  2. Eat healthy carbohydrates. Carbohydrates hold water in your muscles. This is why when you go on a  low carb diet you drop a bunch of weight at first, you are dehydrating yourself. Cut the bullshit with that. Carbs make you run faster. They keep your HR low and they are the number one fuel source your body needs to run strong. Make sure 50 percent of your diet is carbohydrates. 
  3. Sleep! Get extra sleep. You’re asking your body to do a lot in this weather. Give it extra time to recover with more sleep.
  4. Cross-train! In the summer, less is more when it comes to running. If you want more aerobic capacity swim or bike a couple of days a week instead of running. Same benefits, but less hard on your body! Plus you have the added benefit of more muscles to use! Strength training is not cross-training. Cross-training is aerobic.
  5. Do 1-2 workouts in 10 days instead of 7 or…..not at all! You can get a crazy amount of aerobic capacity by just running easy in the summer months. No slow is too slow unless you are walking, so just slow down and enjoy the easy miles! You can also do shorter intervals and strides to keep leg turnover and not beat yourself up. You work hard for the rest of the year so take it easy on yourself!
  6. Listen to your body! If you need an extra rest day take it. Remember our goal is always consistency in training, so I’d rather you take a day off here and there, then take months and months off with an injury or burnout later!
On Track

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