So I figured that since a lot of my friends are starting to run marathons whether it is for the accomplishment of completing either 13.1, 26.2 or they are just starting out on their racing journey, that I would give out training tips and lessons learned from my own experiences when it comes to running in the hottest part of the year…SUMMER.
Let me just say first that I congratulate anyone out there who has run a race of any length. It is a challenge and quite the accomplishment because if you are like me who has been out running on the roads and has come across those individuals in their cars who honk at you because you are “in their way”, take a look at them. You don’t see them out running, getting in exercise. Heck, half the time those people are fat. So first and foremost, be careful, secondly, the next time someone runs you off the road look at them, because I guarantee if a fellow runner is driving down the road they will make sure to slow down or avoid you. It is an unspoken language, but we all respect each other because we are doing what so many are afraid to.
Now for starters, if you are running a fall marathon, you have chosen a fantastic season. The temperatures are cooler, the hours are long, but that also means your training takes place in the summer, which means it is hot. It is march and the weather is fantastic in Baltimore this spring. There hasn’t been as much rain which has been lovely, but since it has been a warm spring, I am worried how hot the summer will be. I learned that multiple times last year during my training, to not run during the hot summer days. I also made sure to choose races not in the dead of summer, but in the spring, early summer, and fall.
So if I can make a suggestion, DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DEAD OF SUMMER TO START TRAINING FOR A MARATHON. It is dangerous unless you bring multiple bottles of water with you. Especially when you are upping your mileage. Yes, you will be more prepared for running in the heat, but believe me you don’t want to end up in the ER from heat exhaustion or dehydration. There were days when I thought that my average 11 miles a day in this 90 degree heat was no big deal. Yep, I was wrong. There were numerous times where I had to bring bottles of water with me, refuel along the way (I ran a lot on the mall where there were water fountains) or stop and walk (and I do not walk when I am in training.) When I was doing my long runs in the countryside, where water refueling was not possible, I found myself calling for someone to pick me up because I was about to pass out. So please, if it is a very hot or humid day, go running in the early morning hours such as 5 when it is the coolest, because waiting until 6 or 7 in the evening may not always be an option or the smartest decision, as I have learned.
So if you do decide to run in the hot summer days, may I suggest investing in a handheld running water bottles such as Nathan Sports or Amphipod or a running belt equipped with water bottles such as Fuelbelt. Those are my favorites and they do not bounce while out for a run or during a race. The water bottles also come in different sizes which is perfect for either water, gatorade or anything else you like to drink while running.
If you choose to instead run on the treadmill inside, go for it. I myself am a stubborn woman and would rather run outside in ridiculous heat at 5 in the morning than run on a treadmill but hey, we are all different. If you decide to cross train, swimming laps or cycling is an excellent decision. They are great for cardiovascular purposes and the best options for runners when running outside isn’t one.
So if it is a day for a long run, and the temps are supposed to be HOT, postpone that long run for later on in the week or change up your schedule. Once you have become an avid runner, following a training regime doesn’t always work; things and life get in the way. So just go with what you know and what feels right.