Full disclosure, the title to this article is a little misleading. Summers in New York come with temperatures in the mid 30s combined with irrepressible humidity, so there’s little chance of escaping the heat.
That said, if you’re training for the New York Marathon, then you’re probably about to get really serious about your running schedule this month and it couldn’t come at a worse time – right when it really starts to get hawt!
So here are a few ways you can try to best manage running in the heat – one part obvious, the other part common sense – you’re probably not going to learn anything you didn’t already know. But, it might come as a timely reminder to take it easy and not push yourself too hard with your training.
Get out early
Fact: it gets hotter when the sun’s out. Therefore, if you can drag yourself out of bed to run by 7am you’ll enjoy a much cooler run. You can also try running in the evenings when the sun’s gone down and it’s cooler. Because, science.
Running by water, or on grass and in the shade, will also create a more bearable environment in the heat.
Best practice is to have a small drink for every mile that you run – especially when you’re sweating a lot. There aren’t a lot of places in New York that have public water fountains, but that’s not to say they don’t exist. The East River running track from East Houston Street has seasonal water fountains, as does the Hudson River Park. There are drinking fountains dotted around Central Park – fewer than you would think though, so check out this map before you head off.
The City of New York provides a list of their water fountains and bottle refilling stations on their website.
If you want full freedom, invest in a Camelbak drinking backpack. They might seem a bit intense and not the sort of thing an amateur runner needs, but they are extremely practical and – more importantly – comfortable. You can also fill them with electrolyte fluid which, when you’re sweating a lot, is even better than water.
If you can’t avoid running out in the sun, then at the very least you should slip, slop, slap! A quick-dry sports sunscreen such as this one from Banana Boat will be less likely to sweat-off and get in your eyes. A lightweight hat or, even better a visor, will also help to wick sweat away from your face and eyes. And, invest in a light colored, loose fitting, running top that is breathable and moisture wicking – much better than the polyester high school t-shirt you’ve been wearing since 2003!
Now, don’t take this as permission to skip your run. But maybe, if it’s really just too hot, you should do your run on a treadmill indoors – preferably in an air-conditioned building. I know, running on a treadmill can be oh-so-boring, but if it means you can do your training run without excessive sweating and heat exhaustion, it will make your recovery time so much faster.
Download a movie onto your iPad and settle in. Most treadmills these days offer settings that will give you a more consistent way to do your fartlek or hills training – so just use it as an opportunity to get in some regulated training that will benefit you when you get back outside.
Don’t sweat it
Ultimately, if you’re feeling the effects of the heat when running – dizziness, fatigue, nausea or anything else that’s not quite right – make sure you stop and seek a shady refuge. Always have your phone on you so you can call for help. And take some salty or sugary snacks with you to replace what you’ve sweated out.
Running a marathon is a great achievement, but putting your health at risk in the name of training isn’t going to be good for anyone. Listen to your body and if you need to skip a day because of the heat – that’s ok!
The big day is getting closer
I’m in the home stretch of my marathon preparation, so stay tuned for my next update of NYC Marathon Tips.