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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Route Change Up

Run

As you may know from reading my posts, I’m currently running and writing in Dublin, Ireland. This means I’ve had a BIG route change up, and am happily exploring new running routes and trails.

However, when I’m home I frequently find myself running the same routes, just out of habit. I know that this route, for instance, is a great 5k loop without many stoplights, or this one is a fantastic 20k long run that flows through many different interesting neighbourhoods.

When I first started running, I used it as a way to explore my city and truly see the world around me. I still do that, but occasionally I fall in to lulls where I use the same route, day in and day out. I’m here to encourage you not to do that.

Changing up your route has several benefits, the biggest of which is avoiding running boredom. Constantly seeing new sites and navigating new terrain keeps you aware and bright, both of which are good for your psyche and your run time. On a slightly darker note, the Toronto City Police also recommend running different routes, so potential predators will not be able to track you easily. It’s a sad thing that I have to mention this, but changing your running route can increase your overall safety. Of course, when selecting a new route, make sure you are not running down dark alleys at 2am next to minimum security prisons, etc, etc, etc.

If you have a system like Nike+, Garmin or any other GPS watch, its easy to head out the door without a plan. If you don’t, take 10 minutes before your run and map out a new route on Google Maps. If you’re stumped on where to go, contact your local Running Room. They have routes of different lengths and technical skills mapped out, all of which leave from their stores of course. And while you’re at it, maybe head out with one of their free Run Clubs!

Alright, enough planning. Go Run. Go Far. Go Enjoy. And Happy Running!

(Photo Credit: R A Pyke)

7 Things to Know About Run Clubs

Having you been thinking about picking up running as a hobby recently? Thought to yourself “I can do that!” as you watch a brightly coloured, tightly clad Running Room member fly by? Or are you simply tired for the elliptical machine?  Or maybe you’re looking to start exercising and need some extra motivation.

Either way, I want to congratulate you. You are awesome. Honestly! Deciding to do this makes you already amazing. And really, there is no right or wrong way to go about this, as long as it is healthy and avoids injury. That said, one of the most common ways people (myself included!) get into running is through a Run Club.

Here is what you need to know about run clubs in general.

  1. They are everywhere. Many fitness apparel stores have them, such as Nike, Lululemon, Lole, Mountain Equipment Co-op, and, of course, the Running Room. In addition, many communities have their own run clubs, not affiliated with any particular store or brand. You can find a list of some here, but a simple Google will do the trick too.
  2. They are free. Usually. Almost all run clubs are free (clinics are not, see #7 below), meaning they are a great way to motivate yourself while not spending any cash.
  3. The people are awesome. Think about it this way: this is a group of people who all voluntarily got up on a Sunday morning, left their warm beds, families and mugs of coffee behind to come stand in a huddle with you and then trot off down the road for a pre-determined length of time. The only people who would do that are people who also actively enjoy the camaraderie of running. You can have some of the best conversations on the road or trail with these people.
  4. What happens on the run, stays on the run. As with anything, there are good days and bad days. If you are having a bad day and things go down on the run this unspoken rule applies. Basically, this is a judgement free zone. We all have days where we breakdown or hit a wall, and no one – I repeat no one – will understand better than your fellow run club members.
  5. You will learn a ton. On any given day there will be first timers and veterans present, but make no mistake, there is something to be learned from every person there. Veterans can motivate you push past your perceived limits and newbies can be your partner-in-crime as you pound out the kms. Take the time to pick the minds of the veterans. If you haven’t already noticed, runners love to talk about running. You won’t be bothering anyone there!
  6. You will be motivated. I feel I should give a word of caution here. Run clubs can be so effective that you will find yourself signing up for and completing goals you never thought attainable. That’s the magic of running with a wide variety of abilities and doing it regularly. So if you start out saying to yourself “I am only doing this to run 5k. That’s it! Nothing more,” like I did, then be prepared to be proven wrong. But hey, enjoy your marathon! It will happen.
  7. You can join a clinic. Clinics, typically offered by the Running Room and their peers, are paid-for sessions that have a strong teaching component in addition to the run club. Clinics vary by the provider but are usually structured with a goal race in mind and offer the participants a professional training schedule to follow. The group is usually lead by a trainer that leads lessons before runs and is available via email for Q&A. I highly recommend these if you are serious about a specific race and want to train for it properly.

Have a favourite run club that deserves to be shared? Something I missed that everyone needs to know about run clubs? Leave it in the comments! And Happy Running!