5 Reasons to love summer running

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It happens every year: we spend all winter complaining about the elements, only to turn around and complain about the heat in summer. I won’t lie, running in the heat is not my favorite. Give me a nice 50ish degrees for race morning and I’m a happy camper.

There’s no denying, though, that there are some good things that come out of running in the heat.

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Today I am joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy and share reasons to get off the treadmill and out into the heat.

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Best Damn Race New Orleans was a sweatfest — but a PR — it taught me I can run well in the heat

It teaches you you can do hard things
You never know what race day will hand you. I have trained through cool spring weather only to be handed a scorching day on race day. A soggy race? Good reason to get out there and run in the rain — even if you don’t like rain.

Of course it feels dang hard to run when it’s warmer. When you do it anyway, you realize that it’s never as bad as you think it will be (well, almost). And it prepares you — mentally and physically — for all sorts of hard racing conditions.

It’s easier to fit in runs
It’s light when you get up and after you get home from work. It’s much easier to get out the door for those early morning runs or run in the evening — the sunrises and sunsets you’ll see are just an added bonus.

Maybe you’ll even run faster in the evening because you don’t want to run in the dark!

It’s easier to dress for a hot run than a cold one
I’m not saying that dressing for a hot run is necessarily easy — do you join the sports bra brigade or not (personally, I don’t). Continue to wear compression socks/sleeves (again, no thank you in the summer). Which running clothes will make you chafe?

It really feels good to be able to run without all the layers that colder weather requires. My biggest dilemmas are always where to stuff everything and how to bring water on the run — you’ll definitely need more water as the mercury rises.

I love running in just a tank and a skirt, though. I feel like I can move, even if the weather makes me move like a sloth.

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Still looking for some clear trails — but at least there’s no snow & ice!

I can hit up the trails
It doesn’t take long once the first snow hits before trails around here are not runnable — unless you’d like to do your long runs in yaktrax or put screws in your running shoes. Up here in the northeast we’re usually very limited in where we can run during the winter.

Some people can run the same place over and over and never get bored. And while I admit that I log an awful lot of miles in my neighborhood, I definitely do get bored with it.

I’m still working on finding trails that are close to me that are actually runnable, but I like mixing it up and trying to keep some trail running in my rotation — while I can.

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Was it last year’s summer running that led to my surprising PR in FL?

Faster fall racing
Running in the heat also has physiological impacts, like:

  • Improves the ability to control your temperature
  • Improves sweating (d’oh!)
  • Allows heart to pump out more blood

You can read this article for more information on how running in the heat can benefit your body. I am not a medical professional or coach, remember. The gist of it is that running in the heat may make you faster in the cooler weather.

I can tell you from experience that many of my fall half marathons have been PRs. Not all, for sure, but I am often pleasantly surprised after working hard all summer.

So let me know in the comments:

Do you believe that running in the summer heat will help you in fall races?

What’s your number one reason to get outside when it’s hot out?

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48 thoughts on “5 Reasons to love summer running

  1. I’ll admit, I was skeptical when I read your blog title for today a I hate summer running, lol. But you are totally right – while it’s not enjoyable, it really does make us better runners and usually result in Fall PRs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, at least some days are enjoyable! Just be thankful you don’t live south, where it’s hot (and usually humid) every.single.day.

      I lived in TX for 17 years — of course the payoff is the lovely winter weather, although it does get cold there, too. But like we don’t get hot & humid for long, it doesn’t get cold for long.

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    1. I’ve mostly been doing easy running, so running has been going well. And I don’t live where you do.

      Now, if it would just stop raining on my long runs . . . although I guess I’d rather have the rain than the humidity we had last week.

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    1. While I can’t say I love a cold snowy run (although sometimes), I’ll take it over hot & humid ANY day!

      As long as it’s not slippery.

      I don’t really like extremes of any sort. I kind of need to live in HI . . . oh well.

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  2. I love summer running but I do wear compression socks to keep my legs healthy (even when it is hot!!).

    I do hate the bugs and esp ticks. and all that insect repellent I have to use. I guess it can’t be perfect.

    My PRs usually come in the spring (after winter running.). I run slower in the warm weather.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There are so many more racing ops in the summer esp where we live. I love to take advantage of that. Besides if I don’t run half until fall then I don’t train in the hot temps..

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Agree with all of these, especially #3–loading up with layers to run in the winter is the worst!! I always figure if you love somewhere with 4 seasons you only get to bitch about 1–I hate the winter, so you’ll never hear any complaints out of me in the summertime!! Great post 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally enjoy summer running (even with the humidity that makes me feel like I’m breathing through water) because it just feel so good to be out there! And you are so right – it is SO much easier to dress for a summer run. Just don’t forget the sunscreen! I’d rather train all summer for a beautiful fall race than train in the cold for a potentially warm, muggy, and wet Spring race. UGH.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have had hot fall races AND hot spring races. I don’t know why heat seems to follow me around. Although the weather mostly cooperated for my last half. Which was nice after the waterlogged half before that one.

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    1. I like it warm, but I don’t like running in heat & humidity. I do it though. It’s got to be really hot for me to retreat to the treadmill (or thundering).

      In fact my husband was complaining that I haven’t tested out the repaired treadmill yet!

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  5. I’m definitely trying to feel better about summer running since it’s not my favorite thing…but you’re right, you can get out there early and knock out your runs, it’s a lot easier to get dressed, and it does make you stronger for the fall!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think I may be one of the few that never ever once complained about cold. I would take it any day over this mess right now. I have bagged running a few times on cold days but I have also done it on hot days lol I love the sun in winter it feels glorious beating down but not over heating me.
    I run in summer to maintain my weight and a bit of my fitness level. It is a touchy balance for me, but I do think it helps me in Fall to have some stronger runs.
    I just have to be so careful in heat, I’ve have bad bouts of heat sickness when I wasn’t even pushing myself so it my mission to try to stay safe. 12 minutes miles are the norm for me right now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 12 mm are still fast for me. 🙂

      If I lived in the south, I’m pretty sure the summer would be my off season, too.

      But come up here in winter . . . I think we’re justified in complaining about our weather!

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  7. Great reasons! I do love the extra daylight in the Summer and it makes it easier to fit in runs during the workweek. It is also easier than having to get together all that cold weather gear before going out for a run. I don’t mind running in the Summer too much as long as I avoid worrying about paces and just put in the time.

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    1. I definitely feel more energized with the longer days in summer (unless it’s super hot and humid, of course).

      I don’t mind running in the heat when it’s dry, but humidity sucks the life out of me (and really does a number on my hair).

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  8. I will say that Sept – Dec 2016 I was running Half Marathons at my 2013 pace/finish times!!! Last summer was the first summer that I ran consistently, I usually take the summer off or will run no more than 3 miles per run (it’s just HAWT in Florida!). This year I’m training for a fall Marathon, soooo we’ll see if my Marathon finish time improves with summer training.

    Jodi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think consistency is a huge part of running well. Even if you run less during whatever is your off season, I think as long as you keep running you’ll see gains.

      I’m sure that having been able to run pretty consistently the last couple of years has helped a lot!

      If I were training for a marathon where you live, I’d definitely be logging a lot of treadmill miles!

      You guys are beasts — truly!

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  9. I’m a firm believer that running in the heat will help you run faster and stronger when the temps cool down. But the older I get, I feel that my body just doesn’t tolerate it as well. I’m good for around 3 miles, that’s it. After that, I’m mentally and physically broken. I’d always prefer to be outside than indoors if at all possible though, so I do it when I can and when I’m just not feeling it …I hit the gym 🙂

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    1. Out of curiosity, what temps do you feel are too hot to run outside? Or is it the combination of heat + humidity?

      Our weather has been so weird this summer. We’ve had a lot cool, a few very hot days, dry days, humid days . . . it’s all over the place.

      My husband was actually complaining that I haven’t yet test the treadmill since he fixed it again!

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      1. It’s definitely the combination of heat and humidity. I can handle running even in low 80’s if there’s very little humidity. (although it’s still not pleasant) Down here though, it’s already in the 70s at 6 am with at least 80% humidity. The humidity is higher in the mornings when the temps are lower. As the temps rise the humidity lowers but then it’s just to hot. For example, right now at 3:30pm it’s 90 degrees with only 45% humidity….. so mornings are warm, muggy and steamy and the afternoons are blazing hot. Just never a “good” time for running.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Believe me, I remember how I’d start to sweat the minute I stepped outside in the summer in TX!

        It’s the same here — higher humidity in the morning. But still less hot & humid most of the summer, obviously!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Truth be told, I’m getting up at stupid hours to beat the heat. I’m not a fan of it, so adjustments are made where necessary, 😁. As for improving fall racing/running… I think quality runs are more important than weathered runs. Hopefully the training will pull one through whatever weather comes our way. 😁 However, that being said, it is a hard adjustment to go from 30 to 40-degree training to 70-degree race (ie Hawaii), 🤤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s why I like to put the race portion of my vacation before the race. While it will never help with a freakishly hot day — been there, done that, multiple times — I truly believe that it helps a great deal when you are going to race in a very different climate.

      How long will be in DC before your marathon? Just curious. If you even know at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We leave on the 20th and the marathon is the 22nd. We’ve allowed time for sightseeing after. I will have run all 3 of my 20-milers in September and end of Sept when it’s warm, so I’m hoping the temperature isn’t going to be an issue during the marathon (okay, really really hoping).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 3 20 miles? Um, how do I put this nicely? Are you CRAZY? Seriously, I know that 20 milers are really hard on the body.

        You just never know what the temps will be at that time of year. It could be perfect and yes, unfortunately, it can still be hot. Here’s hoping you get a crisp, fall day!

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