Grit Clinic – London is Burning

I am quite new to running (only started in February this year, helped along by your amazing book!) and am really struggling with my runs in this current heatwave. Previously I have managed 5 miles fairly comfortably in the pouring rain, but in the heat, I don’t seem to be able to maintain any sort of pace past about 2 miles. It’s very frustrating and has really knocked my confidence. Do you have any tips for running in the heat, other than early morning / late evening runs? Help!

Amy I totally feel your pain with this one.  I am also really struggling to run in this heat and I’m sure others are in the same boat.  It has made me think how gritty our Antipodean cousins are to run during their obscenely hot Summers. How do they do it I wonder?  Actually come to think of it, please do share your pearls of wisdom from Down Under about running in the blazing heat (I realise its not hot over there right now but how do you manage when it is? We could really use some advice here – London is practically on fire at the moment).

I just got back from a run and contemplated your question throughout.  The following definitely helped me through:

1. I ran at 7pm. It was still baking hot, but running between 10am-4pm is a real no no in this heat.

2. I ran in a very loose teeshirt and even more loosely fitted shorts (they aren’t in fact running shorts and I realise that I don’t have any loose running shorts, something I really must rectify as it made a huge difference to the heat-wave generated by my nether regions).

3. Wear light coloured running clothes as dark colours absorb more heat from the sun.  So: light and loose is the answer.  Synthetic fibres are also better than cotton for keeping you cool.

4. Run on shady trails/in the shade wherever possible.

5. If you happen to carry water on your runs or pass a water fountain splash yourself with it or throw it over your head for instant coolness (aim carefully to avoid an embarrassing erect nipple attack).

6. Keep hydrated at all times because you will sweat a huge amount more in the heat which is your body trying to keep cool.

7. Keep your hair tied back and completely off your shoulders/neck and face.  I wore a sunhat, shades and factor 50 sunscreen.  I needed the hat and shades to obscure my Michael Jackson complexion that factor 50 sunscreen inspires.

Amy as for your confidence, don’t let the heat get you down!  The reason your run feels so much harder is because it is so much harder.  Hard is the new black though remember?  So, instead of fighting it, lets start embracing it.  And like all things hard, the tougher the conditions (be that cold rain ice or burning heat) the greater the payback afterwards.  I feel like my brain is on fire now after that run – and in a good way!

The Grit Doctor says:

Focus on the fact that sweat is fat crying and then get out there and cry me a river.


3 Responses to “Grit Clinic – London is Burning”

  1. Amy Shanahan May 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Thank you so much for your reply! I will definitely be trying all these things on my next run in the sun. #everytimeyourunyouwin

  2. Lori May 29, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I live in Perth, western Australia and yes it’s hot in summer, but the same grit doctor rules apply, just go for a run. You do have do drink at least 1 litre of water after, never, ever run in the middle of the day and always wear a hat. Some mornings in summer are 30+ degrees at 8am…but every run makes you feel good and a treat is to find a swimming pool afterwards to laze the day away with family and friends.

  3. allthehorses June 11, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Yep early you can run the better. It’s just hot, and you deal with it. Luckily I can run to/at the beach and reward myself with a jump in!! Much easier to run in heatwave than freezing rain (like today). So cudos to you UK cousins for the crap weather you run in!

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