Some runners hate it; others love it.
I personally fall into the latter category but having spent some time running and racing in more tropical climes I can certainly appreciate where those who despise training when the mercury is high are coming from.
So here are my top seven tips for surviving the warmer months and keeping your body in both beach-ready and race-ready shape:
1. Start & End at the Beach. Although starting with a swim will probably just end up giving you salt chaffing (particularly if you swim in your running gear) the enticement of a refreshing dip in the ocean afterwards can be the perfect carrot to get you jogging.
2. Carry Water. Or better yet carry an isotonic fluid, which is absorbed easier to stave off hydration. You can carry the drink either on your belt (four smalls bottles could hold 250ml each), in a camel pack, or simply in your hand (there are donut shaped bottles ideal for this). However, watch that the carrying of the water doesn’t affect your running form negatively.
3. Make a Slushy Treat: Before you head out the door, make a slushy in a blender using ice, your favourite electrolyte drink and maybe some fruit. Save it for the end of the run or call by home or your car midway through.
4. Dress for Success. In winter we talked about layering up, now it’s time to think through layering down. Wearing one breathable, moisture-wicking layer is definitely the way to go. And the great thing about summer running is the lack of clothes needing to be washed. Be sure to apply sunscreen early enough so that your sweat doesn’t just wash it straight off.
5. Seek the Shade. Bush trails like those on the northern edge of the Domain, Auckland Botanic Gardens/Totara Park, Kauri Point (Birkenhead), Okura Bush Reserve (North Shore), and of course the Waitakares are ideal for escaping the hot sun in exchange for oxygen-rich air of the forest floor.
6. The Early Bird. Running first thing in the morning in Auckland is bliss. The wind is at its lightest (as is the traffic), the sky is a brilliant array of colours, the birds seem happiest, and the waters that surround the city are like glass. What better motivation could there be to get your run done early and avoid the midday heat?
7. Change Gears. Heat makes your heart work harder in order to keep your body cool, so expect to run slower. Don’t spend all your time wondering why your Garmin is underestimating your speed, just ease up and realise that you’ll still be getting a good cardio workout at this reduced speed. And take the few extra minutes that you’ll be spending running to enjoy the scenery!
This article is an entry by Hayden Shearman on his training blog at Stuff.co.nz (published 18 December 2013).