It happens every year: we spend all winter complaining about the elements, only to turn around and complain about the heat in summer. I won’t lie, running in the heat is not my favorite. Give me a nice 50ish degrees for race morning and I’m a happy camper.
There’s no denying, though, that there are some good things that come out of running in the heat.
It teaches you you can do hard things
You never know what race day will hand you. I have trained through cool spring weather only to be handed a scorching day on race day. A soggy race? Good reason to get out there and run in the rain — even if you don’t like rain.
Of course it feels dang hard to run when it’s warmer. When you do it anyway, you realize that it’s never as bad as you think it will be (well, almost). And it prepares you — mentally and physically — for all sorts of hard racing conditions.
It’s easier to fit in runs
It’s light when you get up and after you get home from work. It’s much easier to get out the door for those early morning runs or run in the evening — the sunrises and sunsets you’ll see are just an added bonus.
Maybe you’ll even run faster in the evening because you don’t want to run in the dark!
It’s easier to dress for a hot run than a cold one
I’m not saying that dressing for a hot run is necessarily easy — do you join the sports bra brigade or not (personally, I don’t). Continue to wear compression socks/sleeves (again, no thank you in the summer). Which running clothes will make you chafe?
It really feels good to be able to run without all the layers that colder weather requires. My biggest dilemmas are always where to stuff everything and how to bring water on the run — you’ll definitely need more water as the mercury rises.
I love running in just a tank and a skirt, though. I feel like I can move, even if the weather makes me move like a sloth.
I can hit up the trails
It doesn’t take long once the first snow hits before trails around here are not runnable — unless you’d like to do your long runs in yaktrax or put screws in your running shoes. Up here in the northeast we’re usually very limited in where we can run during the winter.
Some people can run the same place over and over and never get bored. And while I admit that I log an awful lot of miles in my neighborhood, I definitely do get bored with it.
I’m still working on finding trails that are close to me that are actually runnable, but I like mixing it up and trying to keep some trail running in my rotation — while I can.
Faster fall racing
Running in the heat also has physiological impacts, like:
- Improves the ability to control your temperature
- Improves sweating (d’oh!)
- Allows heart to pump out more blood
You can read this article for more information on how running in the heat can benefit your body. I am not a medical professional or coach, remember. The gist of it is that running in the heat may make you faster in the cooler weather.
I can tell you from experience that many of my fall half marathons have been PRs. Not all, for sure, but I am often pleasantly surprised after working hard all summer.
So let me know in the comments:
Do you believe that running in the summer heat will help you in fall races?
What’s your number one reason to get outside when it’s hot out?