Training for a 5K is no walk in the park. Training for a 5K in the heat can be exceptionally difficult given that heat is the most challenging element to deal with for runners.
The impact heat has on training can impact training in the long-term and the short-term given that there are potential dangers to exercising in these kinds of conditions. Therefore, if you have a medical condition or just want to have emergency contact info readily available, it is advisable to wear a silicone medical ID bracelet while training in the heat.
To help ensure that runners remain safe while training for a 5K in the hotter months of the year, today, we will go over some critical tips for running in the heat.
Let’s get started.
Hotter days are not the time to fixate on burning a certain number of calories, maintaining a certain pace or breaking personal records.
When temperatures rise, your body works harder than it normally does as your heart rate increases, blood flow to the skin escalates to keep internal organs from overheating, sweat begins dripping from your glands to cool the body and other processes take place. Therefore, pushing yourself as you normally would is not advisable.
Instead of measuring your workout on times and race paces, you need to take the weather into consideration and base your run on effort.
While you might have been able to run a 5K in a certain amount of time in the winter or spring, that doesn’t mean you’ll be hitting those same times in the dead of summer.
The important thing here is to take it easy on yourself and give your body the time it needs to acclimate to the heat. This means that you should start slow and gradually increase speed and distance over time.
Generally speaking, it should take your body about two weeks to adjust to the higher temps and begin to run more efficiently in the heat, though it is likely to still be rather challenging.
In that acclimation period, it is wise to run at a more leisurely pace to let your body get used to cooling itself more easily. While this does mean slowing down, the quality of your workout will be better overall and you will recover more efficiently.
Hydration is an essential element to success for runners. This is especially true when it gets hot outside. While it can be difficult to know how much fluid you need to replenish what you lose through sweat, it is helpful to develop prehydration and rehydration routines to ensure that your performance levels stay high. Additionally, during these hotter months, it is necessary to bring fluids with you on your run, as you are more prone to dehydration.
One important consideration in remaining hydrated is what you use to replenish your stores and how quickly it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Generally speaking, the more carbs a beverage has, the slower the overall absorption rate. Therefore, it is wise to drink watered-down sports drinks after your run to replenish electrolytes and speed up absorption.
In the summer, the morning is going to be the coolest part of the day. Therefore, this is the best time to get out and hit the pavement. However, do keep in mind that the humidity can be higher at this point in the day, so you will need to cope with those conditions.