4 Hot Weather Tips For Runners

4 Hot Weather Tips for Runners

Training in hot weather can be challenging, and without the proper precautions it can be dangerous. But a few easy guidelines can help you beat the heat.

Before stepping out on a hot day, make sure to check the heat index. The heat index combines air temperature and relative humidity to determine how hot it feels. The National Weather Service offers heat index alerts when it becomes dangerous to exercise outdoors.

Your body cools itself with perspiration which evaporates and carries heat away. When the relative humidity is high, the evaporation rate is reduced and heat is removed from the body at a slower rate.

One way to get through those hot and humid days is to avoid them. When the heat index reaches dangerous levels consider taking that well deserved day off.

If avoidance is not an option for you, try running in the early morning or early evening when the heat index is typically lower.

Another option is to do your workout indoors. A climate-controlled indoor track or treadmill can serve as an alternative to running under the scorching sun. However, not everyone has the luxury of an indoor facility so you need to plan accordingly.

More: How to Adapt to the Heat for Summer Runs

Here are a few tips to beat the heat when exercising outdoors:

Wear the Right Clothes

You’ve probably heard the saying “there’s no bad weather just bad clothing.” Whether or not it’s true, you should always wear temperature-appropriate gear, especially when running in the heat.

Avoid dark colors since they tend to absorb heat rather then reflect it. Find clothing that is made of high performance technical materials. These materials wick or pull moisture away from your body while allowing air to flow through the material. Wicking materials are a great improvement over cotton, which tends to absorb moisture and can contribute to chaffing.

More: 6 Tips to Run Through the Heat

Find a Cool Course

Temperatures tend to be a few degrees cooler in the shade, so look for a running route that offers lots of it. It’s also a great excuse to get off-road and do a little cross-country training.

If you are lucky enough to live near the coast, you may want to consider a beach run. Temperatures are cooler along coastal areas, and you can always go for a quick dip to cool down.

Consider looking for an athletic facility that waters their fields with sprinklers. Running through sprinklers serves a dual purpose: It helps keep you cool and makes you feel like you’re 12 again.

Wearing sun block is a must. The occurrence of skin cancer is on the rise and without protection, you increase your risk. The higher the sun protection factor or SPF, the more effective the sun block is in protecting your skin against harmful rays. For example, sun block rated at SPF 30 filters out about 96 percent of ultra violet rays.

The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., so avoid training during these hours. It is recommended that sun block be applied about 30 minutes before going outdoors and every hour after.

More: Active Gear Scout: Sunscreens for Athletes

Wear a Cap With a Wide Brim

The first women’s marathon was introduced at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. As you can imagine, summers in LA are hot, and the morning of the marathon was no exception. To make matters worse, most of the course was on freeways that offered no escape from the sun.

To compensate for the conditions, Joan Benoit Samuelson wore a white cap with a wide brim. The cap served the dual purpose of shielding her from the harmful rays of the sun and acting as a cooling device. Periodically she would pour water on the cap. She finished a minute ahead of her rivals to win the first women’s Olympic gold medal in the marathon.

More: Find Gear to Keep you Cool

 Today’s running caps are made of high-tech materials that are both light and vented. Just add a little water to help keep cool.

If you don’t like wearing hats or want additional protection for your eyes, wear sunglasses. Make sure you find sunglasses that come with UV coating.

Running in the heat can be a challenge, but when met with a few common sense rules you can beat the heat.

4 Running Motivation Tricks

Sure, your legs and lungs burn, but running is just as taxing on your brain. From making the decision to lace up to fighting through each mile, “the process of running is psychological,” says Jeff Brown, Psy.D., an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School. “Mentally dealing with tough spots in running is critical.” Here’s how to practice.

Picture Success.
Athletes who visualized themselves focused and in control developed the mental toughness needed to perform well, according to a recent study. Before your run (and if your energy flags mid-route), imagine yourself running strong around the block or across the finish line.

Find Your Mantra.
Repeat a key word or phrase during a run to reinforce positivity. Try “You’ve earned this,” “Finish strong,” or “I will.”

Trick Yourself.
Sometimes the biggest hurdle is getting out the door. If you don’t feel like doing a 30-minute run, tell yourself you’ll go out for just five minutes. Once you’re in motion, chances are you’ll end up staying out much longer.

Smile.
Even a halfhearted grin actually makes demanding situations much more manageable, according to researchers. Plus, you’ll look that much better in those photos they snap during the race.

photo: Randi Berez

Published on June 19th, 2013

6 Tips to Boost Your Mental Toughness

Everyone has had one those moments mid-workout where you just want to throw in the towel and quit. Whether it’s because of the pouring rain, a pounding headache, sheer exhaustion, or the fact that you just aren’t feeling it, one thing separates those who give in from those who push forward and ultimately get fitter, stronger, and healthier: mental tenacity. Zoë Romano, a 25-year-old University of Richmond graduate, knows a thing or two on the subject. Right now, she’s in the midst of running the Tour de France course (yes, you read that right—running!) to raise at least $100,000 for the World Pediatric Project, a charity that helps critically ill children and brings healthcare to developing nations. Romano will run an average of 30 miles per day over the course of two months and finish the 2,000-mile course on July 20—just one day ahead of when the pro cyclists will get there. This isn’t the first time she’s put her physical—and mental—limits to the test, either. In 2011, she ran 2,867 miles across the US, becoming the first female to do so unsupported.

“Most of us will hit a mental barrier before the true physical barrier,” says Romano. “If you can get past that mental block of thinking, ‘I can’t possibly do this,’ you’ll see that youcan—and that accomplishment will motivate you to keep pushing to achieve new goals and set new standards for yourself.”

Good genetics and proper physical training obviously play a big role in whether you’ll be able to achieve your fitness goals, but ultimately the consistent application of key mental skills also makes a huge difference, says Barbara Walker, PhD, an exercise and sport psychologist with The Center for Human Performance and a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. She and Romano agree: Everyone is capable of accomplishing fitness feats that far exceed what they probably think they can do.  Here, Romano’s attitude-adjusting tips and smart strategies for amping up your own mental toughness—whether you plan to undertake a massive goal like hers or get through every single run on your 5K training plan.

Stick to a routine
The single most important aspect of Romano’s training: Making a routine—and sticking to it no matter what. While training for her Tour de France run, Romano did core work every morning, gradually longer runs every day, and stretching and recovery at night. “It sounds simple, but if you can develop a routine that feels like second nature, it becomes much harder to skip workouts or to psyche yourself out when it’s go-time because you have confidence in your methods,” says Romano.

Suck it up when you’re not feeling motivated
Planning to go for a run outside? Don’t hit the treadmill (or skip out all together) just because it’s sprinkling. It’s easy to run on a beautiful, sunny day, but that won’t be every day—and if you’re training for a race, it may not be race day, says Walker. Challenging yourself to get out there when you don’t feel like it—when you’re busy, tired, or the weather’s not ideal—boosts your discipline, says Romano. Plus, it’s that much more rewarding to finish a workout in tough conditions than in easy ones.

Have a role model
Looking up to someone in your sport can help you to boost your aspirations and build resilience in the face of difficulties. If you’re a distance runner, think Deena Kastor or Kara Goucher. If you’re a swimmer, Dara Torres. Cyclists can aspire to the ranks of Specialized-Lululemon riders Evie Stevens and Ally Stacher. Romano’s idol is Kilian Jornet, an ultra runner and adventurer. “Whenever I have an especially tough day or a hard climb ahead, I ask myself, ‘WWKJD? (What Would Kilian Jornet Do?)’” says Romano. “The answer is always: ‘Kilian Jornet would kill it. Every time.’”

Focus on what you can control
“When running across the U.S., the toughest days on the road were the ones when I got lost or off-track,” says Romano. “Instead of getting caught up in the frustration of something I can’t control, I focus on my breathing, my pace and my attitude—things I do have a say in.” This technique helps prevent negative thinking and direct attention away from the things over with you have no power—so your mind stays focused on the bigger goal, says Walker.

Know why you’re out there
“The fact that this run is more than just a run and that it’s ultimately changing children’s lives for the better is huge inspiration for me to keep moving when I just want to sit down and sleep,” says Romano. There will be days when you’re down and out, or sore, or just not feeling it—and knowing you’re out there for a deeper reason (whether it’s raising money for a charity or to make yourself stronger and healthier) will give you a huge boost, says Walker.

Fuel your body—and mind
“It’s not just the physical effect of proper nutrition that helps, but also that feeling of empowerment, knowing you’re taking care of yourself, and making healthy choices and fueling up for life,” says Romano, who plans to eat Health Warrior Chia Seeds and Chia Bars to stay physically and mentally strong while on her runs.  “There’s a huge psychological component to what we eat—even if it’s a placebo effect, knowing you ate well and your body is running on high-quality fuel is powerful,” says Walker.

photo: courtesy of Zoe Romano

Published on June 5th, 2013

How to Find a Perfect Running Partner

Running with someone is incredibly motivating. But what if your guy or BFF is the hare to your tortoise, or vice versa? Here’s how to make any partnership work.

Sync Your Schedules.
If you’re the faster runner, align one of your regular or easier days with her harder or longer workout. But don’t discuss it—it’s not nice to proclaim that you’re “taking it easy” if she’s struggling to keep up!

Meet and Greet.
Do an easy warm-up together, then go your separate ways (and paces) during your workout. Meet up afterward to talk about your run. If your friend is faster, join her for her cooldown.

Grow Your Circle.
Go together to a group run (they are often hosted by local running stores). You’ll still be holding each other accountable, you won’t have to be the newbie alone, and you’ll each log a quality session with athletes at your own level.

photo: IStockphoto/Thinkstock
Published on June 14th, 2013
Women’s Health Magazine

The New 5K Trend: Glow Runs

On your mark… Get set… Glow! That’s the idea behind the newest 5K trend: glow runs.

Imagine dressing up in head-to-toe neon, accessorizing with glow sticks, blinking lights, and neon paint, and heading out to jam to awesome music with friends. It sounds like a pretty awesome party, right? That’s what a glow run is—you just get your exercise in, too!

Glow runs are offered by a variety of companies in cities across the country. They’re held at night—typically starting between 8 and 9:30 PM—so you can get the full glow effect. They usually kick off with a 5K run or walk—some feature fancy lighting effects and black-light tunnels along the course—and end with a big dance party at the finish line. “Come ready to have a good time and be decked out in neon,” says Caitlin Patrick, event director for Glow Run 5K.

Celebs like Seth Rogen and Vanessa Hudgens have gotten in on the action, too—Rogen participated in an Electric Run at the end of last year, and Hudgens hosted Los Angeles’ first Electric Run last week decked outin neon pink spandex, a polar bear hat, and white fur boots. (Um, awesome!) “[Electric Run] is more like going to a concert or a music festival with a group of your friends than it is going to the park for a 5K-in-the-morning kind of a thing,” says Evan Miller, director of marketing at Electric Run.

Want to give one of these runs a glow?

Remember: Don’t be shy with your costume
Although you’ll often receive a few glow bracelets and necklaces when you get to the race, putting together an over-the-top fluorescent running outfit is half the fun. Patrick says participants go all out at Glow Run 5Ks: “There are crazy costumes—people will show up in tutus and they’ll be all decked out in glow gear,” she says. “The more glow sticks, the better.” And Miller says he’s seen some pretty spectacular work with electroluminescent wire at Electric Runs, like ladies who each spell out a letter on their shirts and stand together to form a message.

Above all: Do it for the fun, not the race time
Running event virgins: Glow runs areperfect for you! You’d be hard-pressed to even find one that’s timed. So no matter your skill level, sign up with your friends and enjoy the fun factor. “We want you to stop at different points, tag us on Instagram as you take your photos of you and your friends, and just enjoy being out there,” says Miller.

Register!

Now start searching for cute neon accessories!

photo: ©2013 Electric Run

Published on May 31st, 2013