The secret to running in the heat

As of Sunday, we have been in Texas for one year.  My body has acclimated a bit to the heat- but running in these temperatures is always a challenge.  Temps have been over 100 for several days in a row this week, and even the early morning “low” is uncomfortably warm and humid.

Since signing up for the sprint triathlon on a whim, I’ve realized what perfect timing it is.  Both the outdoor bike rides and swims have felt much more comfortable than running.  I got in my first open water swim this week…

Although I won’t be breaking any records, I do feel much more confident that I can survive the swim portion. Two weeks and two days til race day!

So the secret to running in the heat? Train for a triathlon!  If that’s out of the question, the next best thing is research that makes you feel better about yourself and a few handy calculators.

1) Did you know that training in the heat can actually improve your fitness level? One study of cyclists found that acclimating to the heat improved aerobic exercise performance.

2) Pace calculators.  Obviously, the heat can slow you down, and I learned this the hard way in my recent 10k when my legs could not maintain my pace in the second half.  Here’s one of the calculators that can help estimate how your time changes with the heat (or elevation), and I was encouraged that mine matched exactly the goal pace I was aiming for in that race.

3) Hydration calculators:  Replacing both water and electrolytes is crucial when exercising in the heat.  I learned this one the hard way, too.  After my 15 miler last weekend, I had a headache the rest of the day from dehydration.  Despite running with my fuel belt and finishing all four bottles, it wasn’t enough for a 2+ hour run.  I came across the Portman Calculator to help determine how much you should drink before/after/during a run in the heat.

Any other calculators you like?

Have you ever done an open water swim?

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday- stop over there to check out more posts!

54 thoughts on “The secret to running in the heat

  1. Great job getting in the OW swim and great point about tri training to survive the heat, nothing better then jumping in the lake on a hot day 🙂 During heat I love running through sprinklers when out running to cool off, kind of brings back childhood.
    Jen recently posted..New workouts and other changesMy Profile

  2. Wow, good for you for training for a sprint triathlon in TEXAS!

    My only tip for beating the heat is getting up early for runs. My husband and I make it a habit in the summer to be out the door for our runs before 6 so we beat the sun as much as possible. Otherwise, we are a mess the rest of the day and like you described above, just can’t get hydrated.
    Kelly@Runmarun recently posted..Happy Friday!My Profile

    • I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking… 🙂 But I’ve cut back on some running to get in more bike and swim time, and am not nearly as hot when doing either of those, so it’s working out okay. I’m glad it’s only 2 weeks away- I don’t think I could maintain a tri training schedule for much longer than that in this heat. It’s a lot to squeeze in each week!
      Laura recently posted..The secret to running in the heatMy Profile

  3. I admire you! I almost want to say “Secret to running in the heat – DON”T!” lol but I know how important it is to get acclimated. I’m finding it very difficult this summer but I mostly blame that on my injury. We hit triple digits yesterday and I decided to take my run to the treadmill. I’m such a wimp! I can handle the 90s but I just cannot bring myself to fight w/triple digits and humidity.

    I can’t wait to see how the rest of TRI training and your race goes. I’ve never done an open water swim. It also intimidates me! I think if I were to ever do a TRI I would do our local sprint Tri that is done in the local lap pool.
    Kimert recently posted..Three Things ThursdayMy Profile

    • Well, with all the tri training that is kind of what’s happening- much less running! The bike and pool are pretty comfortable in comparison.
      I would definitely head to the treadmill in triple digit temps. It’s just not worth it- takes so much out of your body!
      Laura recently posted..The secret to running in the heatMy Profile

  4. My not-so-secret is to get up really early, which works better in Colorado than in Texas because humidity isn’t an issue here. But 105 feels pretty hot here, too–so I move inside or cross-train if early isn’t an option. This is the only time of year that swimming sounds good to me ever! :^) Excited for your tri!
    Terzah recently posted..Conference, Fire…and A Little More RunningMy Profile

    • Yes- the early morning is the only time I’ve been out running too. You’re right- it’s not much cooler here even in the early hours, but it helps. And I’ve been replacing some of my running with biking and swimming, so I’m not out running as often or as long.
      Laura recently posted..The secret to running in the heatMy Profile

  5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I usually bring a water bottle with me – or run the same loop around my house so I can cool down if needed. I also am starting to get up earlier for my runs. Not so fun to go to bed when it’s still light out – but necessary to (attempt to) avoid the heat!
    Megan recently posted..Olympic FeverMy Profile

    • Yes! I’m learning that I need to hydrate even more than I think I do! And the early morning is the only time I can handle getting out there… it’s still hot, but at least it feels a bit cooler in comparison to the rest of the day.
      Laura recently posted..The secret to running in the heatMy Profile

    • Good luck on your 16!! Take it nice and easy. I think I’m going to cut back on my long runs for awhile… especially since I’m not even training for a long distance run. Wish I had your summer weather! Although I know it can still get hot there- hope it’s not too bad this weekend.
      Laura recently posted..The secret to running in the heatMy Profile

  6. I so want to do a triathlon on of these days!

    Love the calculator you shared, I am doing a 10k tonight but the temps will be over 100 until about 10 so I need to really fuel up! Sadly it will probably be a very long run for me because of the heat, lack of training and a crazy one lane trail hill course!
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  7. That’s awesome you are doing a triathlon! A triathlon is on my bucket list too but first I have to get over the fear of the water. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Good Luck!!!

    • Thanks, Amy! I’m nervous about the water too… the practice open water swim helped so much. Every once in a while I would think about what else might be in the water and get all worked up, but I just had to put it out of my mind. And at least now I have the confidence that I have the stamina to do it, though I’ll be pretty slow. 🙂
      Laura recently posted..Foodie Penpal RevealMy Profile

  8. I’ll have to check those calculators out! I’m so glad that we don’t live in Texas I don’t think I could handle it, it has been hot enough here for me!

    I’m so excited that you did an open water swim, you are going to do great at your triathlon!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman recently posted..Eat, Sleep, Move, EnjoyMy Profile

  9. Good to know about training in the heat. While my “heat” is nothing compared to the southern states, for sure, it still takes a little bit to adjust to the heat here. I love those calculators! Great tools.
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  10. I try not to focus too much on the numbers most of the time in the summer and keep telling myself that the pay off will come immediately in the fall when the temps start to drop. I’m a really poor swimmer so no open water swims or tris for me.
    Raquelita recently posted..Thursday Threads: Roman HolidayMy Profile

    • It’s so true- before moving to Texas, I didn’t realize the extent to which the heat slows you down. I’m a pretty weak swimmer too, but I finally decided just to go for it and have the tri experience. I want to cross it off my bucket list! 🙂
      Laura recently posted..Foodie Penpal RevealMy Profile

  11. I’m definitely going to check out those need calculator tools. The temps have gotten near 100* here in PA and I need to keep up with my training runs. I’m not very experienced with exercising in the heat : )
    Karen recently posted..Move It Monday {3}My Profile

    • I’ve heard that PA got hit with some intense heat this weekend! I think you need to be even more cautious when your body doesn’t have much of a chance to acclimate. Hope the calculators are helpful!
      Laura recently posted..Foodie Penpal RevealMy Profile

    • Yes- it makes a huge difference. I’m learning that just because I’m drinking doesn’t mean I’m drinking enough, or the right thing! It’s taking some trial and error to find out what works best for my body.
      Laura recently posted..Foodie Penpal RevealMy Profile

  12. Wow! I am so impressed with the sprint triathlon. I want to do something like this – but the swimming part always gets in the way. I haven’t figured out how to have access to a pool I could use on a regular basis. Cool calculators too.
    Amy recently posted..A Trip Down Memory LaneMy Profile

    • Thanks, Amy! The swim is always what held me back, too. I’m still a pretty weak swimmer, but decided I know I can complete it, so I’m just gonna go for it (no time goal in mind)!
      Laura recently posted..Foodie Penpal RevealMy Profile

    • Those higher temps really do make a difference. I don’t think I’ve ever done a lake swim like that! My husband said too that he used to do it a lot as a kid… sounds fun!
      Laura recently posted..Foodie Penpal RevealMy Profile

    • Yes- I think it’s kind of an average… sometimes I feel like I’ve less phased by the heat, and other times I’m barely moving! It’s fun to compare and realize I don’t need to beat myself up over slow runs in this heat.
      Laura recently posted..Foodie Penpal RevealMy Profile

    • Oh, wow, Jerilee- that sounds AWFUL! I was considering a full in October but realized I’d have to do a 20 in August, and I just don’t see that happening!
      Laura recently posted..Foodie Penpal RevealMy Profile

  13. Thanks for the link to the calculator! We were just wondering after our race today How our times were affectected by the heat. The calculator says I would have been sub-21 in cooler temps!! Woohoo!!
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