This is not another post about how to put ice in your hat or drink freezing cold water for 48 hours before your run to stay cool. Science is giving runners a whole new way to beat the heat while running and it has nothing to do with getting cold, but instead, with warming up!
As I do each final Wednesday of the month, I’m linking up with four other knowledgeable runners for our collective best advice. This month is how to not hate running in heat and humidity because, let’s face it, even the treadmill looks better when it’s 90 degrees and 100% humidity.
Here’s how to make it bearable…but you probably won’t like it:
TAKE A STEAM BATH
That’s right! You need to heat up to prepare your body for what it’s about to deal with, according to new research published last month in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning. The scientists involved in the study tried both pre-cooling and pre-heating their subjects prior to running a steamy 5k. The results? Those who were subjected to the heat before the heat were 4% faster than those who cooled off. The best news? Once the heated runners established a routine of heating up before hot runs they improved their times by 6.5% compared to their first run!
Now do you want to try it?
If taking a steam bath is too time consuming (I know it is for me) you can also try to:
This can get dangerous quickly so I suggest adding layers and maybe running indoors on a treadmill for 10 minutes prior to going outside. Get nice and sweaty and then peel off the layers and step outside. Who knows, it may actually feel cooler out there!
HANG OUT IN THE STEAM ROOM
If your gym has one, sit in it before your run. My coach had me do this for a race last year since it was winter here and hot as hell where I was racing. It absolutely helped and, in the summer, it can work even better.
If you want to read the entire New York Times article about the study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning on heat acclimation and running:
Hot Weather Workout? Try A Hot Bath Beforehand | by Gretchen Reynolds
For more great tips from runners who have made it happen through countless hot summers, I give you the Run It Wednesday crew:
ANGELA | HAPPY FIT MAMA
CARLY | FINE FIT DAY
NELLIE | BROOKLYN ACTIVE MAMA
LAURA | THIS RUNNER’S RECIPES
[Tweet “Want to know how to really #beattheheat on your #summer #runs? You’ve come to the right place! #RunIt”]
I will be off running (and swimming and cycling and drinking) in the heat and taking a break from the blog for the next few weeks. Try not to miss me too much…
If you want to find out what I’m up to, check my Instagram or Twitter.
Will you try heating up before a hot run?
What can you add?
What’s the hottest temps you have run in?
It does seem wacky to sit in a steam room before a hot run but it makes sense. It’ll feel cooler outside! Great science backed tips Allie!
What about move to a new location? As in, your entire life? That would be rather surprising :Dq
When I was training for a winter half in Florida, yep, I pulled out my sweats and a hat and ran on the treadmill. No fan and no water. Ugh. Torturous but very effective.
Enjoy your time off!!!
Heat doesn’t usually bother me much, but I’m more careful with it while I’m pregnant. I’ll miss your blogging! Glad I have you tied down on Instagram though. 🙂
Great minds indeed – we both referenced the same study! Although sitting in a sauna before a run sounds miserable to me! My approach was to move to a place where a heat wave is 90 degrees and to run races in the winter and spring months – I’m not even kidding with that one! I’ll miss your blogging the next few weeks but have fun and stay cool in that heat!
oh wow gone for a few weeks? what on earth did i miss you announce??? i feel like such a goober, i hope you’re not doing the olympics and i missed it.
i live in heat and humidity year round so i’m used to it and honestly don’t mind it too much. for ironman texas i overdressed and everyone thought i was insane, but guess what, i was fine. as i peeled off layers i felt great. i guess i just tolerate it ok, but then again when i was pregnant i couldn’t stand anyting above 80 degrees lol.
i love sweating so bring it on. follow that up with some cryotherapy and i’m a happy woman. oh and add some tequila and call it a night! and an uber!
will miss you terribly!! You were the first person to teach me the ice trick!! 🙂 Iike the start off in the gym idea because omg it can be EVEN HOTTER in there sometimes!!
Good for you taking a break! Summer is the time to relax; I’ve been contemplating the same myself. Enjoy… and try not to have a heat stroke!
Enjoy your break! I’ve never done the sauna or heat before running in the heat but it definitely makes sense.
The heat is rough, but the humidity here is what really makes me feel crappy sometimes. I wish I had access to a steam room to try that out.
It actually really works! I didn’t realize how acclimated I was to the heat until I walked the dog with my husband on a really hot day and he was dying and I was like “what?” LOL!