5 Rules for Hot Weather Running

As the summer marches forward, we are all dealing with some hot weather running. Well – most of you are. I’m in Ireland which doesn’t seem to go above 20 degrees Celsius. Nevertheless, here are some basic rules on hot weather running:

  1. Hydrate yourself 2 hours before you go out. Whenever possible, have a few glasses of water before you head out, to ensure you are sufficiently hydrated to begin.
  2. Consider a hat. Not a regular baseball cap (that will trap heat next to your skull) but a running cap made out of wicking material. The sweat will wick away from you head, and the brim will give your eyes a break.
  3. Bring water. This may seem overly obvious, but it is that important. Once the mercury rises, you can no longer get away with not bringing water with you, no matter how short the run. This is doubly important for runs longer than 1 hour. In those cases, bring an extra bottle or two, or you can….
  4. Plan hydration stops on your route. Before you head out, figure out if there are functioning public water fountains that you can fill up at. Pro tip: Starbucks (at least in Toronto, Canada) are perfectly happy to fill up your water bottle with no fuss. I do that all the time.
  5. Have a proper cool down. This means two things. First, if your body temperature is up, hop into a cool shower or grab a couple of ice cubes for your face. Bringing your temperature down successfully is important when you are done your run. Second, the need to effectively hydrate doesn’t end when your run does. If you don’t continue to hydrate with water or gatorade following your run, you will likely get headaches from the dehydration. Keep it up with a glass of water an hour for a few hours after you are done.

What are your tricks for surviving your hot weather runs? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Running!

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Gear Review: Nike Plus

This could just as easily be titled

An Ode to Nike Plus

Because, and this is so true, I am completely in love with the Nike+ app. (Pipe down, overly conservative mid-westerners, I am not suggesting marrying my app). This thing is awesome. I even have a basic Garmin and yet I head out most days clutching my smartphone so I can use the Nike+ app instead.

I should note that I am not in anyway getting paid by Nike, Nike+ or its affiliates to write this. But Nike, if you’re reading (ha!), I totally would. I’m just going to throw that out there.

The Nike+ app is a great product, especially for beginners in our sport. Although I had known about its existence for some time, I didn’t start using it until a friend recommended I do so when she picked up running. Like I said, I had a Garmin watch and I didn’t see the need for it. My Garmin is a highly accurate GPS tracker that also tells me my split times, makes sure I stay on pace and allows me to set intervals for long runs. What could the Nike+ app have on that?

Plus, the brand of smartphone I have (Google Nexus) makes it difficult for me to find an armband to lash it to my upper arm. I still don’t have one, but if you know of a good one worth ordering off of Amazon, please let me know.

The thing is, Nike+ is fast and easy to use, especially as the GPS tracker finds me very quickly. I live in a densely populated (read: skyscraper filled) area, so the GPS tracker on my Garmin could take upwards of 5 minutes to activate. Nike+ is free and available on all Android and iPhones, meaning many of my friends use the app already. Nike+ allows me to connect with them, through the app, and see how they are doing. Nike+ also publishes runs to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc, if you are into those sorts of things. The social media and communication driven aspects of Nike+ are things the Garmin line of products, while more professional, just can’t keep up with. Finally, Nike+ is speaks to me throughout my run via my headphones, so I can automatically hear when I have hit the next km, what my splits are so far, and if I’ve just achieved a new milestone.

Frankly, using Nike+ is like having my own little cheerleader in my pocket. Ellie Goulding once came on over my headphones to congratulate me on my fastest mile ever.

Now, truth be told here, there are some things the Garmin does better than Nike+ is designed to do on its own. I don’t have the Nike watch, so maybe it fills in the gaps. Garmin is a far more accurate GPS tracker and is lighter than carrying around a smartphone with you. Its battery life also lasts longer, and the watch is waterproof-ish. Plus the elevation charts Garmin provides post run are second to none. Garmin also offers a full line of products from the beginner (which I have) up to the triathlete level watch. Nike+ just isn’t designed for it.

So come race day, I’ll have my Garmin strapped to my wrist. But for every day leading up to race day? Nike+ all the way!