Note from Doug: While I’m enjoying a few weeks of little running and lots of wine relaxation on my belated honeymoon in Italy, most of you are gearing up for some of the most difficult months a runner faces each year: The dreaded summer months.

Today my friend Jamie Corey of the D.C. based running blog, Run the District, shares her tips on how to face the heat and tough training months head on. She’s the perfect person for this post because I’ve never met anyone so dedicated to improving her training and sticking to a rigorous schedule as she is, even if it means hitting the streets and trails to avoid wipe-out summer temps so early that nearly everyone else in D.C. is still in bed.

So let’s get to it. Here’s Jamie…

For non-runners, it’s usually their first whiff of a charcoal grill or the sound of wood crackling at a bomb fire that marks the first days of summer. But for runners, it’s the early morning runs before 7 a.m. that are light out or the desire to stop at every single drinking fountain you pass that marks the season for hot and humid runs—otherwise known as “summer.”

Whether it’s a fall marathon or a cross country season you’re prepping for, these next several months of training will determine what kind of shape you’ll be in by the time the weather becomes comfortable again.

And that’s why it’s critical to take advantage of the early morning sunlight even if it is sticky and uncomfortable outside.

Make Your Summer Training a Sweaty Success

1) Have a Plan: Don’t just wing it this summer. Have a solid plan that will get you to the finish line this fall. A training plan will also help keep you accountable to daily and weekly mileage goals, which will be critical on days you’d rather sleep in or go to happy hour.

2) Log Your Mileage and Effort: Sometimes the training plan and your actual mileage don’t always line up. There’s numerous benefits to writing down how much you did that day and how you felt.

You may need to slightly alter the training plan you’re on depending on how it’s going. A few months into the plan, the log can be very satisfying when you see how much improvement you’ve made.

3) Run a Race Early In Your Training: Compete in a race early on so you’ll know all summer long how fast your 5k or 10k pace is. Knowing what your pace is in these distances are very important when gauging how fast speed and threshold workouts should be.

4) Join a Running Club: When there’s no time to socialize due to a packed training schedule, a running club fills that void. In addition to the social aspect, a running club will help keep you motivated and encourage you to push further when you’re surrounded by others.

5) Be Creative: From chilly cooling pads to running through sprinklers, finding ways to stay cool will…well, it will help keep you cool! On those really hot days, opt in for pool running or a treadmill that that’s close to a fan.

6) Explore: Find a new trail (that’s heavily shaded) or route you’ve never explored. This will help mix up your routine and avoid getting into a rut—the last thing you need in summer training.

Most importantly, always keep the end goal in mind while you’re powering through a hot and humid run.

Nothing is more satisfying as a runner than watching your splits improve by several seconds—sometimes minutes—when the weather gets cool again. You’ll be putting the same amount of effort without having to push through the hot air that’s been slowing you down all summer.

Jamie Corey is a marathoner and the writer behind the D.C. based running blog Run the District. She’s also a columnist for RunWashington, Active Life DC, and Follow all those columns and more on twitter @DCRunster.

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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