Heat is your friend. Well,... maybe not. It turns a 3 mile run into a 5 mile feeling. That was the encouragement part.
Here are the tips:
Ok… what I know about heat: it takes 3 weeks for your body to understand heat. Not get a hot run in and then wait 3 weeks, but to run out in the heat every run for 3 weeks. If you run inside and then outside it will take a lot longer as your body doesn’t believe it. Also running outside is really good for your event in the fall, you get better at knowing when a car or someone is a problem, what it’s like to run on crappy and good ground. Hills ( both up and down ) and… heat – and haha - rain. ( running in the rain by the way is MUCH funner than it sounds )
Wear a hat. Oddly this sounds like the opposite thing to do, as more clothes make you warmer. And you also shed a lot of heat off of your head. But, if you have a hat on and you get sweaty, the hat acts like a wet towel on your head. Helps. Also you get most of the wind benefit from a hat being auto-cooled. And most importantly the sun hits your shoulder tops a little bit but the top of your head is the most struck area by direct sun and a hat will reflect off the heat. I wear hats when the sun is out and don’t when it is cloudy ( or dark ).
Give up: don’t run when it is hot. This sounds worse than it is. If you must run when it is hot then run inside. Otherwise run in the morning. if you get up at 5:30 or 6:00 and do a one hour run in the morning you might have to wear a hat for warmth. This morning we ran at 5:30 and I wore gloves. It is rarely over 70 degrees at that time of day – it is as cold as it gets then. And as you would guess, it is NEVER super sunny. Also the Detroit Marathon ( which you should do! Roll the word around… maaaaraaaathoooon… yummy! ) and the faggy Half Marathon are run in the morning in the middle of October. Last year 2 people died because it was a really hot day ( like 65? ). Most years it’s in the 40s or 50s so you don’t have to worry about running in heat at all for that.
Well, let’s assume you are going to run when it is hot out. The first part is mental. You have to not care. When I first started running I hated the feeling of getting sweaty. I didn’t mind being all sweaty, but that first mile I would run and think – I could just stop now and not have to take a shower. Then as the next miles went by I would be thinking that it sucked to be getting more and more sweaty. But then after 4-5 miles I was as wet as I was going to get ( pretty much ). And then I didn’t care anymore. So if you are bothered by this, the cure is just to keep running and after a while ( like now for me ) I don’t notice any more. I know I am going to do the whole run and I know the shortest run I do ( 1 hour ) is going to have me totally sweaty – so it’s not an issue any more. Also mentally you think – wow – its hot out – this is going to kill me. But! It’s not any harder really to run when it’s hot. You have to run a bit slower as you can’t dump heat as fast. Also you need to drink more as you sweat more. And! You are getting skinnier at a faster rate from the extra work. But other than that the heat gets to you a LONG way into a run. It takes about 2-3 hours to really feel the difference from the heat as far as a real physical crash. Some of our longer hot runs were over 4 hours, but you just keep drinking. Just know that you can do the full hour regardless of temperature. Go a bit slower and drink a ton before, during and especially after.
Gear: hat is huge. I have one that is synthetic hi-tech. Means you can wash it a lot – which I do. It keeps the sun off you and out of your eyes. Most people add sunglasses to cool down the world. If it doesn’t look super bright out you get more relaxed. And that helps. I can’t wear sunglasses as I steam them up too much to see out of. But I am pretty much on the extreme end of sweaty when I work out. Most of the people I know wear them running. I do biking. High tech running shirt and shorts help too. Cotton gets sweaty and heavy. After a while it’s the same as carrying a wet towel around. The moisture close to you heats up with your body and the reason for sweating ( to cool you ) no longer works because the heat doesn’t pass through your clothes. The high tech running stuff really works. For a long time I ran in cotton sweat pants and t-shirts in the summer even. Like the 1970s crappy movies. But in the last year especially with all of the time spent running I switched to thin stuff. It’s breathable – which sounds like a commercial but is very very very helpful. You feel all the breezes pass through the stuff and cool you off. It gets wet of course and that cools you off too. It’s thin and doesn’t keep much moisture around so it stays light.
Food: eat stuff with salt in it. J or put a bit of salt on something you like. When you sweat you loose salt. Which sounds like no big deal, but your body figures it out and doesn’t want you running because then you will loose salt. So eat some salt. Also drink the Gatorade stuff. Has a lot of potassium in it which you need too. Eat a banana afterwards – this turns your acid blood back to normal the fastest and starts your recovery. ( there is about 10 pages of recovery you can/should learn ).
Extra: And! For the mental game you could try riding a bike around for a half hour first. You get a lot of wind and you don’t get as hot as running and this eases you into running. Later bump the bike up to 5-7 hours of intense hill crashers to get your legs ready for the marathon run that afternoon. ( Swim before hand a few miles to warm up. ) uh, wait… no, wrong sport, sorry. ;-)
But all in all, like I said at the beginning, it takes 3 solid weeks to get used to heat. And then you don’t care too much anymore. You go from feeling like you are going to die in the heat to wondering if you put enough sunscreen on. And that’s a good switch.