The Dog Days of Summer… the time of year between July and August where all the dogs lie around because it’s too hot to do anything else. That’s what my Grandmother would say when we were kids. During the hot, hot afternoons, she would make us go in and take a nap, too hot to do anything else. This July has not disappointed. The dogs have done nothing but sit and pant on the porches. It’s hot in the shade and even in the house. Add living in Georgia and misery is the name of the game. It is sweltering. Trying to train for a fall marathon can be difficult at best.
I try to anticipate and be smart as my weekly mileage increases and my long runs get longer. I focus on two areas: the physical and the mental.
- Run in the mornings or late evening/night runs. If I am not too tired from work or want to sleep late on weekends this works. Temperatures are much cooler.
- Stay hydrated.I always make sure that I am putting electrolytes in my water. Critical before I run. Also I include it in my water bottle during my run.
- Use Glide. Lots of sweat makes for lots of chafing. For me the normal places for chafing I remember: shorts, under arms where sleeves rub and bra areas, but I have to remember to glide my feet. This morning I forgot and I have some serious blistering around the ankles:/
- Wear the right type of clothes. Dry-wicking, never cotton (causes blistering like with socks or gets to heavy with tops) and I never wear loose clothing! It makes chafing worse. I wear triathlon bra/bathing suit top. These dry out quicker. I run without socks. This became a habit when doing triathlons and I think it is better or maybe I am just use to it. My friends all get blisters from socks and friction heats up their feet. I am good as long as I Glide:)
- Wear a visor, never a hat. Hats hold in heat.
- Sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses.
- Throw out extra bottles of water in cool shaded areas along my route before I run, especially on long runs over an hour.
- Make sure somebody knows my route and approximate time I will be back.
- Take my phone just in case.(Spiebelt)
- Pick a shaded route if possible. If I can’t run early or late I pick a trail as long as it’s not too dark and the sun is up. It is much cooler in the shade, about 8 degrees:)
- Go ahead and prepare to be slower when the temperature is up. Some of my early morning runs I didn’t start early enough and it was well into the 80’s when I started and close to 90’s when I finished.
- Remember it’s okay to walk. I go ahead and tell myself that so if it happens I don’t get disgusted. Heat is hard to run in!
- I have spots along my routes that I call my “safe spots.” These are areas I have already selected and know that I will use if I get to feeling bad or need to step off my route for a minute to make sure I can continue onward.
- A mantra is critical sometimes to get me through the heat or even a long run. My go to mantra is “You got this.”
- Make a Music list that has phrases that will motivate or that get me hyped up. I have a crazy mix of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s music that gets me all into the music. I don’t listen to music most times because I like the peace, but when things get hard, I am struggling or the mantra is not working… music can sometimes distract me to push through the mileage.
- I always have bubble gum with me. It’s a distraction. Crazy I know, but I love bubble gum and smacking on some grape Hubba Bubba or juicy Watermelon Bubblicious gets me not focused on the heat or pain.
Running in the heat can be crazy dangerous so be smart. Preparation is the key to ensuring that I get through the Dog Days of Summer without incident. These things work for me and so far I have been okay. I knocked out 10 miles this morning before temperature hit 98 degrees. Then I came back from the run ready to eat my Sunday morning breakfast and lie around and pant with the dogs.