This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
Summer is here. In the past week or so, I’ve seen a number of runners comment on the heat and/or humidity hitting them. I’ve also noticed mostly the humidity (it hasn’t been terribly hot here in the past week) hitting me hard. I think it’s time to make sure we all remember a few key points about running in the summer.
1) It sucks. It sucks for all of us. There’s no way around it. Whether we’re in Wisconsin suffering through the 80s with high humidity or in the southeast suffering through 20 degrees warmer with even higher humidity, it’s something our bodies aren’t used to handling and it’s tough on us. I think it’s even tougher this year after the winter we had. We’re all suffering out there. Those of us who tough it out are the ones who will thrive in the fall, though. Accept the difficulties and embrace the suck. Wear it as a badge of honor, be proud that you’re hanging tough through it and keep plowing on.
2) It’s going to slow you down. Don’t fight that. These conditions are placing a strain on our bodies. If you try to maintain the paces you were running a month ago when it was cooler, you’re going to beat yourself up and end up burned out by the time fall rolls around. Instead, let the paces fall back naturally. When it cools in the fall, your paces will bounce back. The summer season is one of the reasons I like running workouts by feel. If you can feel the right effort, you’ll naturally make the correct adjustments for the conditions during the summer. You’ll slow down as the heat and humidity rise and you won’t make a big deal of it because you’ll know the effort was what it’s supposed to be.
3) It can be dangerous. Be safe when the heat gets extreme. We all have our own limits. Someone in Wisconsin like me will melt down far sooner than someone in Georgia who is more used to the heat. Also, every individual handles the heat differently. Don’t think you’re a wimp if you have to back off, throw in some walking breaks or cut a run short because the heat was getting to you. Better to cut a run short or walk some than end up in the hospital with heatstroke.
So keep training this summer. It’s what will make your fall racing season a success. Just be willing to adjust to account for the conditions and make sure you’re paying attention to how your body is responding to the heat so you don’t get yourself in trouble.