Working out in the summer's heat

If you've hung around this blog for any amount of time, you know that I love to run and workout. That can be a bit challenging in the summer for those of us living in the South where it's not uncommon for the temperature to reach over 100 degrees on any given day with a normal humidity of something like 90 percent. For those of you who live in cooler climates, imagine sitting in a greenhouse in the middle of summer. That's about what it feels like.

Side note: A few weeks ago, Kevin and I were in Boston for a work trip for me. The news was playing in the background as I was getting ready one morning and the meteorologist was warning people about the high humidity - it was going to be near 70! I laughed. My hair really appreciated the low humidity there though!

That said, not working out in the summer is not an option. It is, after all, when we want to work out, if only for vanity's sake. So how do I, avid runner and exercise enthusiast, manage to work out in the summer?

It's challenging sometimes, especially when you add vacations to the mix (by the end of summer, we will have traveled for about four weeks), but it must be done or else I feel grouchy and chubby (I'm being truthful here.).

Running is my first love, but running in the heat is no fun. Even 8 am races are torturous this time of year! Since I do race throughout the summer, I hate to take all of my training indoors on the treadmill because then I feel like I am just going to die after a race in the heat when I've been running in my perfectly cool house WITH a fan blowing on me for three months. (Trust me, I've learned that the hard way time after time.) So, this summer, I've decided to take a different approach: I'm running outdoors, but slower.

A simple Google search of "adjusting running pace for heat" will give you so many calculators and articles to read. Just for fun, I decided to try one. Keep in mind that the "ideal" temperature for racing 5K's is said to be somewhere in the low 60's (63, to be exact, depending upon what you read). Here, in my warm state, I need pants to run when it's in the 60's!

Using a Runner's Connect calculator with 19:30 set as my 5K pace (I choose this number as it falls around a typical 5K without too much exerted effort for myself), I should effectively be running my 5K races in 95 degree heat in 20:31. This calculator doesn't factor in humidity; I'm scared to see what it would say!

Since races are always faster than regular runs (I really dislike the term "training runs" because I feel like I run, to run, not always to train for things.), this goes to show that my regular runs should, in fact, be much slower in the summer even if I'm not purposefully trying to run slower. This in itself makes me feel better since I really have a hard time dealing with running slow for me (it's a mental thing).

So, how am I surviving running in the heat when I want to run fast and be on my treadmill, while my body knows I need to slow down and stay acclimated to the heat? I'm running early or late, outside. I'm hydrating really well throughout the day. I'm slowing down to the tune of something like 7:10ish overall pace for most of my runs. I'm wearing light colors. And I'm filling my sports bra with ice as soon as I walk in the door. Yes, girls, fill your sport bras with ice after a hot, sweaty workout. Trust me on this. It cools you down faster and you feel good!

In addition to running, I try to add in some additional training. It's hard for me to make it to my gym in the summer due to a compressed work week -- I'm actually toying with the thought of breaking up with my gym if I can't get back in a routine in August, but this will be a tough breakup for me if I go through with it. I mean, I've had a nearly fifteen year! relationship with it! Since I nonchalantly throw around how hard it is to make it to the gym during summer schedule when I have to be at work 30 minutes earlier each day to account for my Fridays off, I will tell you that some great and free resources I've enjoyed this summer come from the Tone It Up girls. How I've missed them for so long, I don't know, but are they good or what! I've started doing TIU yoga videos a few times a week as well as abs and booty workouts. I can tell a difference, too!

There you have it: my summer workout routine. Sweat outside because I must with some slower runs (usually no longer than 5 miles at a time) and do yoga/strength training with my kettlebell and Tone It Up girls in my workout room.

What do you do to stay motivated in the heat?

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