Finally summer is here – so bring on the heat!  As a triathlete  I have to run in the heat of the mid day sun during an event.   So training in the heat is necessary to preform in the heat! Yeah that’s me running the I Street to San Antonio to D Street loop, under the blazing heat of the mid afternoon sun. Thanks for beeping as you go by in your air conditioned car –  laughing!

As a 50+ year old women runner I know a lot about “hot flashes”. Who better to give you some advise on running in the heat.  Make no mistake running in the heat can and does cause serious injury. You do want to prepare yourself!

Here are some recommendations:

1. Start Early! In our area the coastal fog means that you usually have until about 10am before things start heating up.

2. Dress Light! Wear light weight, breathable, wickable clothing in light colors. Running Specialty Stores have a great selection.  Your cotton t-shirt will hold in the moisture and weigh you down!

3. Bring along fluids. If you bring water you can drink it and pour it on your head and upper body.  This will refresh you as the water evaporates and helps to cool your body and lift your spirits.

4. Hydrate Properly. Water alone is fine for a 45 minute run.  However, if you are running longer than 60 minutes you should use a sports drink containing sodium and other electrolytes.  This is to prevent hyponatremia which is dangerously low levels of sodium in your blood.  Drinking too much water is one of the causes!

5. Hit the Trails. On hot days when I don’t want to bake in the sun I run up to Putnam Park (here in Petaluma) and run through the tree tunnels.  This is a great run and very refreshing on a hot day.   For longer run, on those dog days of summer, I will go to Point Reyes and run for a few hours.  The trees provide shelter from the sun and the brooks along the run trail add additional cooling.  At the end of Bear Valley Trail just head out to Arch Rock and the sweeping ocean views will refresh your spirits.  This has to be one of the best runs in the country!

6. Slow it down. It’s hot so take it a bit easier.  Actually, if you start slower you will do better with the heat in the long run.

7. Tread Lightly – yeah you can always run indoors on a treadmill with the fans blasting! Catch a show or listen to some tunes!

8. Turn up your ovens! You can always work up to the hot weather runs.  Ease into it and decrease the length and intensity to start. Your body will get used to it – don’t forget the sunscreen and I like a hat (light weight and breathable)  or visor! I also like going to “Hot Yoga Hell” to get used to the killer heat!  Great way to stretch out those running muscles and acclimatize to the heat.

9. You know best. Listen to your body! Don’t do the “Jane Fonda” workout – You know, Harder…BURN!  If you feel light headed, dizzy, confused or have muscle cramps or if you stop sweating…. STOP RUNNING!  Head for a cold shower – you’re cooked.

See you on the road.

Keep up the Pace Petaluma,

Holly