6 tips to help you run faster in hot weather
Running on scorching summer days can be tough on your body, and it can be hard to stay motivated. It's hard to push yourself when the sun is shining and humid days can leave your body overheating and struggling to make it to the end of your run. You could find yourself feeling lethargic even before you've started running, but help is at hand! Cooling techniques can help you to keep your cool for longer and run faster and harder, yes, really! These six science-backed tips will help you cool down and speed up when it comes to your run this summer, so let's get started.
#1. Chilled to the core
According to researchers at the University of Brighton (1), dropping your internal temperature prior to a run can help you to maintain a higher intensity whilst also keeping your cool. Scientists studied 12 male runners and set the thermostat to 90 degrees before a 30-minute treadmill workout. The men all drank a 16 to 20 oz slushie, 20 minutes prior to their workout, to lower their internal temperature. They reported feeling cooler and were able to run faster than when they didn't have a frosty slushie prior to their run. This is great for shorter runs as the cooling results are short-lived!
It's as important to maintain your cool during your run as it is to cool your body down before you set off. Ice-to-go can help you stay cool mid-run. Try freezing a filled water bottle and pop it on to your forehead or the back of your neck during your rest periods to stay nice and cool! You could also try filling a long sock with ice cubes and tie it loosely around your neck to help you stay chilled!
#3. Focused on form
Humid days can make even short runs feel like an immense challenge so focus on your form and your running skills rather than pushing yourself too hard. High-intensity or long runs could be too much for those scorching hot summer days, so try drill sessions instead. Exercises such as high skips, high knees, box jumps, hill sprints and speed squats can boost your speed! Try sticking to brief 100 metre interval runs to ensure you're running faster and more efficiently by the time the cooler weather rolls around!
#4. Stay indoors
Temperature soaring outside? There's no harm in moving your workout indoors when it's just too hot and humid - in fact, it could make your run more effective! The treadmill is an excellent place to work on your interval running and boost your speed. Alternate fast-paced runs with easy jogs and you'll benefit from improving your running whilst also keeping your cool. Or why not use the time indoors to do some strength training, often overlooked by many runners (but really important!) Strengthening all your muscles will boost your running ability just as much as going for a run will. Try focusing on improving core, posterior and leg strength to boost flexibility and speed!
#5. Cool your skin
We're not suggesting you freeze your underwear, but cooling down your skin before you start to sweat is even more effective than lowering your core body temperature, according to researchers at the University of Brighton. They cooled study participants' skin 20 minutes prior to a run using a variety of methods, including submerging their arms in cold water, wearing ice vests and ice-packed shorts and slinging iced towels over their necks and heads. For workouts longer than 30 minutes (that long, cross-country run for example), the study showed that skin temperature climbed slowest and participants were able to run up to 31 seconds faster (based on a 5K run) than they could without skin cooling.
#6. Optimise your warm-up
Yeah, we know it's roasting hot outside and you're already hot - but you still need to warm up! Failing to warm up properly could cause an injury and you need to make sure your muscles are ready to go. But you can optimise your warm-up to activate your muscles whilst keeping your cool. A quick jog, warm-up and strides (fast bursts of speed around 100m) is the best way to go - so try something like this:
- 1,000 metre jog
- 2 x 15m knee hugs
- 2 x 15m hamstring scoops
- 2 x 15m quad stretches
- 2 x 15m side shuffles
- 2 x 15m skipping
- 2 x 15m knee high skipping
- 4 x 100m strides (with quick turnaround and stride back)
This will ensure you keep cool but your muscles are optimised to start your run!
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