Sound enticing? Let me assure you, it is. Now, I am from Texas and beating the heat is something we deal with often. However, it seems that this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue as more people move into the sun-belt areas, and summers everywhere seem to be hotter than normal.
So what do I do to beat the heat? Well, I have gotten on the quest to lower my marathon time which involves changing my training schedule and routine. One of the suggested changes is to incorporate other activities to compliment my running. The purpose of this is to continue working on cardiovascular strength but to also reduce some of the wear and tear that running causes the body to experience, while helping build some of the muscles that get neglected when running. Some of the recommended activities are biking and swimming. (This is also why Triathlons have become so popular).
First, biking: I love riding bikes. Riding bikes has been something I have enjoyed all my life, more as a kid than as an adult. However, that is changing because I have started biking more seriously, and enjoy it just as much as when I was a kid. The additional benefit now though is I not only get to enjoy it, but I am also making it work as good exercise as well.
The unique thing about riding a bike when it is hot out is that, because you are moving at higher speeds, you are able to keep your body cooler. So, even though it is hot out, the heat is much less of a factor than when I am running. The caution here is that fluid replacement is a bit deceiving. Because you are having more air pass over your skin, the appearance of sweating isn’t as prevalent as running, however, fluid loss can still be significant. So a word of advice is to be extra cautious about the rate of fluid replacement when riding a bike. The good news is that drinking and riding aren’t nearly as taxing on my stomach as when I run.
Now swimming: a great way to beat the heat! In the summer you have the option of indoor and outdoor pools, lakes and oceans can also be good resources. I have personally joined a Master’s swim program which I highly recommend. Not only do you get a better workout but you also get some good instruction that can significantly help your form. By improving your form you improve your efficiency and time as well as your level of enjoyment. I personally love swimming outdoors with the sun shining. Something about being in the water on a sunny day makes for a great workout, no matter how hot or hard the workout. If you do swim outdoors, I would recommend tinted goggles. Looking into the sun on your breathing can be a bit of a problem!
So, incorporating either or both of these routines in to your running program will help you not only beat the heat, but may also help lower your running times!