Running on a Hot Day: Why Bother?

There are lots of tips out there for how to surive running in the heat— basically, go early or late, hydrate appropriately, wear light clothing, run slower. But if you’re not training for a hot race (Badwater? what are you, nuts?), why bother?

Well, there are likely physiological benefits, so if you care about that sort of thing, or you’re looking for a performance goal, keep reading. Training in the heat can potentially improve VO2 max, blood plasma volume, sweat rate, and skeletal muscle force— and this translates into cooler conditions. Neat!

It can boost you psychologically, too. For one, running in the heat feels hard, so by comparison, a cooler day feels easy. It’s like how lifting your water bottle is so light when you put that kettlebell down. There’s also the issue of consistency— if you keep your running schedule up even when the whether doesn’t cooperate, you’re less likely to fall off the wagon. No excuses, am I right? And there’s a sense of accomplishment in doing something challenging. You’re part of that elite group of folks who are out in this weather, giving each other the nod, the little wave. Get after it, friend.

Finally, if you’re really a running junkie, not running feels terrible. Is a hot, humid, sweaty run awful in the middle of it? Sometimes, yeah. But do you still feel great when it’s over? 100%.

at the track

hat? check. sunglasses? check. ventilated singlet? check. give me your worst, arizona.

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