TotR: Hot Weather Running Tips (Florida Version)

Join us for today’s Tuesdays on the Run linkup with Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs.  Today we explore how to cope with the heat of summer running.

HotWeatherRunningI know some people just love to run in the summertime.  Most of those people live in climates where the winters are harsh and long and the joy of running without tons of gear (things that are foreign to me like neck gaiters [I thought they were actually neck gators, ha ha], yak trax, fancy gloves and fleecy hats) is well worth the extra sweat that comes with running in the hot summer sun.

MadDogsYeah, that’s not me.  I live in Florida.  Where summer lasts from March through October…  And it is relentless.  By September, I’m just resigned to the fact that cool breezes are an urban legend, told to keep Floridians from all moving to Vermont.  And while Florida summers have some positive things like the beach, the springs and the swimming pool (notice the aquatic theme?), there is absolutely nothing good about having to train for races during the summer for this runner.

Because I can’t afford to summer in the Pacific Northwest, I have found a few ways to adapt to the eight months of running misery.  Here are my best Floridian tips:

  • Accept that you’ll be slower.  Galloway has a chart showing various adjustments for the heat.  He suggests slowing down 30 seconds per mile for every 5 degrees over 60 degrees F.  I’m not sure that I am totally on board with that much of a slow down (2-3 minutes per mile slower for almost all summer runs here) but the concept is valid.  I’m always frustrated with my speed at the start of summer and amazed at how easy it is to run faster on that first cool October (or November, sigh) run.
  • Dress for the weather.  For me that means loose fitting tanks (in a light color!) and sparkleskirts.  I rarely wear compression socks in the summer and I always wear a Bondiband to soak up the vast amounts of sweat pouring down my forehead.  Ugh.  bondiband2
  • Hydrate!  It’s always important to stay hydrated, but running in summer temps takes it from a good idea to a critical necessity!  Make sure to drink some electrolytes too.  I like Cocogo, but others swear by Nuun or even plain old-school Gatorade.  And remember that hydrating the day before you run and re-hydrating after the run is just as important as during your run.
  • Avoid the sun.  I don’t run in the dark (see here for my rational and irrational reasons why), but I do like to get out there just at the sun starts rising during the summer.  If I can’t manage that, I seek out a shady run.  Luckily, my neighborhood has lots of trees, so I don’t have to search far.  It’s amazing how much of a difference shade makes in my heat tolerance during summer runs.
  • Wear sunscreen.  If you can’t avoid the sun, make sure to lather on some sunscreen.  You know why!  Here’s a reminder…IMG_2649
  • Avoid the bugs.  This may not impact everyone, or you may have your own bug nemesis, but yellow fly season here starts in May and ends in June.  Those nasty devils love me.  So do mosquitoes and fleas (I joke that if vampires actually existed, I’d know by now since bloodsuckers apparently think my blood is Sookie Stackhouse good).  But yellow flies hunt me down, fly at about 500 mph (not a scientific fact), dive bomb me and can bite as they land so even smacking them doesn’t prevent me from getting bitten.  And then I swell up like crazy.  Is my phobia/mania coming across here?  So, whatever your bug is locally, it’s probably more active in the summer.  For me, I avoid the lovely shaded woodland trails that would be so refreshing and stick to more urban areas.  I don’t wear the dark colors that attract yellow flies.  And I occasionally get some unscheduled wind sprints in if I do get targeted by them.  I’ve started running with a small bottle of Deep Woods Off in my skirt pocket just in case, but I really hate spraying that stuff all over myself and nothing less toxic helps repel them.
  • Fantasize about Halloween, crisp fall breezes and the smell of crushed autumn leaves and acorns.  By August, I’m over the cookouts, the beach trips and the swims in the springs and I’m just ready for the winter (we don’t get much in the way of spring and fall here).  So I start keeping my eye out for the first signs.  Maybe the squirrels are storing lots of food or the ants are behaving strangely.  I become certain that it means an early cold snap.  And I scan the store shelves for the first Halloween candy and displays as a bit of hope that one day, maybe, just maybe, running outside will be joyful and not a humid, sticky, sweaty experience.

So, I probably should move to a colder climate, but then I’d just whine and complain for the eight months of cold!  Too bad we can’t all migrate like birds!  But I do love the summer thunderstorms (not so much for running in though).

So, are you a summer loving runner or are you counting the months until the cool weather returns?

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TotR: Hot Weather Running Tips (Florida Version) — 12 Comments

  1. Great tips April! Especially about the bugs…summer hasn’t even officially started yet but in Philly I am constantly dealing with gnats while I’m trying to enjoy my run! I try to run as early as possible on the weekends to save myself from the heat. I think I need bondi bands…the sweat is a big problem for me!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Be Well Philly Boot Camp RecapMy Profile

  2. I too live in Florida, I just got back over a week ago from visiting my sister in Portland, OR. The weather is so beautiful up there right now! We went for a run, a hike, etc. and it was so wonderful to not sweat and feel like I need to hydrate every 5 seconds.

    I couldn’t agree more with all of your tips. I am still working to accept that tip #1 is a true statement, lol. Tip #6 is another great one, I completely forgot all about those pesty bugs!

    Thanks for hosting 🙂
    Krystal recently posted…How to Survive Your Summer Training RunsMy Profile

  3. I cry uncle and just stay inside. I’m not much of a morning runner so that leaves after work for me, when it’s way too hot. I also allow myself cheat days whenever I feel like skipping my workout instead of trying to convince myself to get it done.
    Lesley recently posted…Tuesdays on the RunMy Profile

  4. I just started running in March (near Orlando, Fl) so at first I was running after work but soon after had to switch to mornings. After not being able to run for a week I ran this afternoon… it was over 90 degrees but I was so happy to be running again I didn’t care, LOL! It did get a little rough after the first two miles though and normally I would have never done that.

    Also just wanted to add that I am totally against running in the dark too for all the same reasons!! I’m so glad to see someone else who totally sees it the way I do. 🙂
    Jenny recently posted…My Unintentional Running Break — And Bouncing BackMy Profile

  5. Here in NC, we have very similar weather. Hot and humid!! I really love running with my HR monitor during the summer. Keeps me from overworking and it gives me a reason to not pay attention to pace, just effort. Great suggestions!
    Melanie recently posted…Meal Prep and PlanningMy Profile

  6. So this is (part of) why I have a treadmill! I can’t breathe in the heat and humidity.