The weather here in Boston is a cool 65 degrees today. A cold front has settled in and it will be nice and cool throughout the weekend. That means my 20 miler will actually be comfortable.
Unlike this weekly forecast, Michael and I have spent the summer getting our runs in early in the morning or later at night when it cools off and the humidity is lower. We spent most of July praying for a rogue rainy Sunday morning or just a few clouds to make it overcast for our long runs. This never happened, it was crystal blue skies, blazing hot sun and warm temperatures every Sunday. All of our complaining and struggling in the heat may just pay off according to this recent Runner’s World article.
According to the Runner’s World article titled After Burn athlete’s who train in warmer temperatures don’t just perform better in warmer temperatures but also in cooler temperatures. In cooler temperatures the athletes felt fresher and faster. They did a study with 16 cyclists to help validate this. One group of 8 pedaled at low intensity in a 104F room one day a week. The other group performed the same workout in cooler temperatures. They all maintained a normal workout routine beyond the testing. After 2 weeks they were tested again. Those who trained in the heat were in better shape in warmer temperatures than those who did not. They also showed “five to seven percent gains in a cool environment.”
Runner’s who frequently run in the heat should try to stay hydrated, plan routes with water along the way and wear clothing to help wick away sweat. For more tips on running in the heat check out my post with my favorite summer running tips. Runner’s who will be transitioning to the cool weather should keep in mind that running in the heat is a more challenging workout and takes longer to recover on the body. As a result those training in cooler temperatures may need to increase the intensity of their workouts.
I was pretty excited to see this. As runner’s we all pride ourselves on rarely missing runs, and completing workouts. Most of us would agree that this is challenging in the hot, hazy summer months. I think it’s great to know there is a pay off to all that hard work particularly when racing season is predominately in the fall.
Personally I have noticed a difference in my runs since the cooler temperatures have started to arrive. In July and August I always needed a nap after our long runs. I was physically and mentally exhausted and often dehydrated. There was nothing like eating a good breakfast, showering and crawling back in to bed after a hot, long run. Lately with the temperatures being cooler I don’t feel as if I need a nap post run, I feel more energetic after my long runs than I did last month and tend to feel that I exert less energy now on those runs. I also feel more hydrated. Needless to say I feel much better during these cooler days.
For those of you who may still have a couple more weeks or another month of hot, humid summer weather I encourage you to think about the cooler weather heading your way. What will you do? What are you looking forward to? Maybe it is sleeping with the windows open or putting your down comforter on your bed. Or perhaps you can’t wait for your first morning run where you need a long sleeve top or tights. Envisioning the cooler days ahead will help to keep you motivated and push through those hot days. There is only a few of them left so enjoy them, and the extra benefits they will bring you this fall!