Beat the Heat: 5 Tips for Runners

A Guide to Running During the Summer Months

Here in North Carolina, it’s quite common for our summers to be very hot and humid. This summer in particular, we have had a record number of days over 90-degrees. It’s no secret that I love warm weather (And by warm weather, I mean that triple-digit temperatures makes me happy!) but even I struggle with enjoying outdoor workouts during this time of year. If you’re new to running, it’s usually the first week of consistently warm days that is the hardest, and makes you question if you want to continue running at all. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP! Ask around and you will quickly learn that the most seasoned runners struggle in this kind of heat too. It’s harder on our bodies to adjust to warm weather, but with the right approach, you can beat the summer heat. Here are five quick tips that are sure to help.

1. Hydrate — Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids. The recommended 64 oz of water per day won’t cut it. You’re going to need more. You’ll want more than just water. And you’ll need to drink more often than the day of a run. For me, I have found that during the summer months, I drink around 100 oz of water per day. Additionally, I drink a minimum of 16-20 oz of Nuun the night before a run, as well as immediately after a run. It is important to drink an electrolyte – Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium – replacement to replenish what is naturally lost when we sweat. I recommend Nuun because it has no sugar and no carbs. {Compared to Gatorade, which has over 20g(+) of sugar per serving!} Nuun is a gluten free, soy free, vegan, nonGMO, made in the USA tablet that you simply drop down into a bottle of water. The tablet immediately starts to dissolve, creating a fizzy, flavorful beverage. I love that Nuun is completely portable and can be adjusted to your liking. (I often break tablets in half and mix two flavors to customize my drink to the perfect taste.) If you’d like to learn more about Nuun, click here.

nuun1  nuun2

2. Clothing — I have known so many new runners who have rushed out to their local department store to buy running outfits. They’re excited to finally start running and want to look the part. I was guilty of it when I first started. How can you blame anyone? Have you seen some of the running clothes available? They’re so cute! But there’s a big mistake that many of us make: I didn’t like the way my legs looked in shorts, and I certainly wasn’t going to show off my jiggly arms! So, I bought clothes based on how much they covered and how well the outfit matched. What I ended up with was a dresser full of clothing that made me feel miserable during workouts. The material wasn’t moisture-wicking or cooling, and the capri pants were causing me to overheat. Did you know that when you run, you should dress for a 20-degree increase? That means, if it is 70 degrees outside… you should dress like it is 90! Although it was a struggle, I finally learned to put my self-consciousness aside and buy/wear clothing that is appropriate for summer workouts. Here’s a photo of a typical summer run outfit. It’s still cute, right?

clothes

I love the pop of color in my Nike shorts. Running shorts can be tricky. I highly suggest trying on several different styles to find the right fit for you. There are many different lengths and fits to choose from. In my three years of running with strangers, I can honestly tell you that I have never paid attention to anyone’s legs. Stop thinking that everyone will be paying attention to yours. They won’t. Do yourself a favor and buy shorts! They even make shorts with a skirt over them. I own two pair of those. Adorable, functional, and NOT form fitting. You have options!

The same goes for arms. I have never paid attention to, or even compared, others’ arms to mine. All it takes is wearing a tank top to one 90-degree run and you’ll fall in love. My favorite tank is this Brooks black and white geo print tank. The busy pattern camouflages and distracts, and is so much fun! This tank top is also quite long in length, which I love.

And friends, let’s not forget our feet! It is so very, very important to wear good socks to prevent blisters and provide support. I recommend Feetures! They’re a North Carolina-based, family-owned company that offers a lifetime warranty on their products. (Seriously… a lifetime warranty!) They’re the only sock that I wear in the summertime. I even recently wore them on vacation. I was the only person out of our group of six who did not get a single blister. Coincidence? Nope! That’s just how great Feetures! are. Click here to learn more about these great socks.

3. Sunscreen — It’s an easy oversight. When I first started running, I wanted to make sure that I had my earbuds, my cell phone, and my Garmin. Anything else was an afterthought. All it took was one 5K in early June to help me realize that there is more to summertime running than good music. I was sunburned! So now, before I even dress in my cute (yet weather-appropriate) outfit, I apply sunscreen. I personally use Banana Boat Sport 30SPF because it is water resistant… and I don’t sweat it off! I like to take the UltraMist in my bag for touch ups, especially since it also cools and refreshes.

sunscreen

4. Accessories — Sometimes, it’s the small things that can make all of the difference. Some of my favorite small items that help make summer running more bearable are:
A hat or visor
Sunglasses
Chapstick

accessories

And my all-time favorite accessory…. the Nathan Insulated Handheld water bottle. It slides right on my hand without the worry of having to grip it the entire run, and with one quick squeeze, I can have cold water at my fingertips. Literally. Nathan also makes waist paks, vests, and hydration belts, too. Check them out by clicking here.

nathan

5. Early Morning Workouts — Early birds will rejoice and night owls will cry, but the number one way to beat the summer heat is to get your run in as soon as the sun comes up. (Maybe even before, if you have a safe, well lit place to run.) Even on the hottest days, most morning temps are considerably cooler. For example, the highs for this week have been in the mid-90s but the morning lows have been around 68-degrees. Much better, right? You’ll have an easier run, and you’ll have your workout in before your day even gets started. Think of the extra time you’ll have in the afternoons, too!

If the thought of waking up early to get your run in is absolutely against everything you believe in… there’s always an indoor run on a treadmill. But where’s the fun in that? 😉

Are you new to running? Comment below if you’ve found these tips to be helpful. Are you a seasoned runner? We’d love for you to comment below with any additional tips that you may have to share. Happy Running!

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I did not received compensation from, nor am I affiliated with any company listed. All products were purchased by me, including giveaways. Opinions expressed here are my own and were not influenced in any manner.

I’m Bringing Saturday Back!

I can’t lie. 2012 was a blur. I can’t remember how most of my weekends were spent. And that kind of freaks me out. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I had a normal Saturday. A day when I did laundry, exercised, went to the grocery store, relaxed, knocked out a few errands, cleaned the bathroom. My year last year was spent in a whirlwind. I did laundry when I ran out of clothes to wear, and admit that most of the time they were never stored away properly. I would just pull from the giant pile on TOP of the washer and dryer. I rarely visited friends. I didn’t set any real weekend agendas. And relax just wasn’t in my vocabulary.
The sad part? I didn’t even realize I was living that way!!

Until today.

I woke up at 6am, cooked breakfast and ate by 7am. Was out the door to meet a friend at 7:30, where I proceeded to walk/run a total of 2.5 miles. On the way home, I stopped by the curb market and picked up a box full of fresh, organic fruits and veggies. Then I stopped by my local service station to have the oil changed in my Focus. I even went by the ATM to get out some cash before I headed home. And do you know what? I was home by 10am. I felt like it should be 2pm. I had accomplished so much. So I showered, threw in a load of clothes… not because I needed to, but because I could. I wrote an article for On A Mission. I cooked an awesome lunch. I visited with my parents. I chatted with five friends (some on the phone, some via text). I took the cat outside and enjoyed the sunshine with her. I tried out my new camera lens, using Kitty as the model. I cleaned the bathroom, took all of my trash outside, read a chapter in a book, did my daily devotions, and put away my laundry! And here I sit, taking a break to blog again, and it’s only 4:30pm. I could get used to this. As a matter of fact, this is who I once was. I was a productive, efficient gal. I don’t know what happened or why my life ended up pure chaos… but I am here to reclaim the old me. Not the old, ignorant, immature me. But the me that could multitask and make the most of her time. I pray that I can spend every day, from here on out, like I have today. Knocking my To-Do list out early, spending time with family and friends, doing things I love, taking care of everything that I have been blessed with, and still having the time to sit here and write about it. 🙂

kitty

Don’t get me wrong. There is even more work to finish this weekend, including grocery shopping later tonight. And I have to clean up other messes that I have made (metaphorically and physically), which will take a few weeks of “todays” to do. But I really feel good about the day. It’s an answered prayer. I needed this!

What are some ways that you multitask? Do you divide your chores throughout the week? Or knock them all out on the weekend? I would love to hear how you handle your busy life.

Ladies…Don’t be Afraid of Lifting Weights

If I had a dollar for the number of times I have heard “I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to be big and muscular”, I would be a rich woman! I’m here to tell you that you will NOT get big by lifting weights.

Have you ever said this?

“I get bulky when I lift weights.” Or “I need to lose weight so I only focus on cardiovascular exercises.” Or “Lifting weights is for bodybuilders.”

At one time I thought that too. But as I have learned more about exercise and the many different types there are to benefit your body, weight training is one of the key workouts that will help you burn fat and stay lean. The more muscle you put on your body, the more calories you burn at rest. Meaning that, while you are not exercising, your body burns more calories. Plus, the more muscle you have, the less fat you have on your body.

You do not have to lift heavy weights and you do not need to lift weights everyday, but incorporating weight training a few times a week is essential to a fit lifestyle. And the great part about weight training is that you will never get bored. You can try weight machines, dumbbells, kettle bells, barbells with weights, or you can simply use your own body weight. If you are intimidated by weight lifting, have a personal trainer show you some simple exercises you can add to your regimen. Or try a weight training class. Our gym offers Body Pump, which is a full body workout with weights. And you control the amount of weight you want to use.

I like to work on different muscle groups throughout the week. I will do a short 20-30 minute weight routine after my cardio session so I can concentrate on 1-2 muscle groups. It’s best to work out larger muscle groups first, because you can lift the heaviest weights and get an overall harder workout. Start with back and shoulders or chest and back.

Back – overhand pull ups, wide grip pull downs, seated cable rows, bench rows
Chest – bench press, incline bench press, chest fly, cable fly, push ups (on floor or elevated surface)
Shoulders – overhead press with dumbbells, upright rows, lateral raises

You can work on your biceps and triceps on the same day because they are a smaller muscle group and fatigue easier. Try bicep curls, preacher curls, alternating concentration curls for biceps and cable press, overhead press, chair dips and push ups for triceps.

Do this workout for 2-3 weeks then switch it up. Try back and biceps together and chest and triceps together.

But ladies, I implore you, do not use the 3 and 5 pound dumbbells (unless you have never lifted a weight ever). When you are performing 10-15 reps of an exercise, the last few should be difficult. If you get to 15 reps and are not straining, up your weight!

When I trained for my figure competitions, I was lifting heavier than I ever had in the past. And I got leaner than I have ever been. So I’m here to tell you that lifting weights does not make you bigger. It makes you stronger!

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments you may have!

When It Comes to Exercise, Variety is Key!

If you’re just starting an exercise program, trying to lose a significant amount of weight, or just trying to get rid of those last few stubborn pounds…the solution is the same. You need variety in your workouts.

There are 3 types of cardio:

Steady state (also called fat burning or low heart rate) – This is where you exercise at a low intensity with the purpose of burning your fat stores. This is best done first thing in the morning before you have eaten. Depending on your age and resting heart rate, you can determine your “fat burning target zone”. My heart rate has to stay between 125 and 135.

Interval training – the fastest and most effective way to burn calories. This is also the best cardio for what experts call the “afterburn”. Meaning your body continues to burn calories after you have finished exercising. Interval training consists of a 5-10 minute warm up, 20-30 minute interval workout, and a 5-10 minute cool down. You can do this on the elliptical, step mill, treadmill, or bike. The goal is to go hard for a short period of time, then recover for the same amount of time (or just a bit longer). I have done sprints on the treadmill, running as fast as I can for 1 minute, then recovering at a jog pace for 2 minutes. I have also used the elliptical machine for interval workouts, going hard for 1 minute, recovering for 1 minute. You can also do shorter bursts of intensity – go hard for 30 seconds, recover for 1 minute. Pick the machine that works best for you. And remember, this is not supposed to be easy. I am usually out of breath by the end of my intervals. I suggest doing interval workouts twice a week. Although they are key for torching calories, they require the most recovery. So alternate interval workouts with steady state cardio.

Medium intensity – basically a cardio workout in between steady state and interval training. You need to get your heart rate up, but not as high as interval training. When I need medium intensity cardio, I usually run outside or on the treadmill or use the step mill. I can increase the speed if I need to, but I can also back off if the workout is getting too intense.

It is also important to vary your workouts week to week and month to month. If you do the same cardio and weight routines week after week, your body gets conditioned to those exercises. You need to switch it up because the more variety you incorporate into your workouts, the more you can challenge your body. Different exercises work different muscle groups and it’s important to use them all. If you’ve never tried Spin or Zumba, give them a whirl. You’ll be amazed when you are sore in places you aren’t accustomed to!