Many of you are probably training for a Fall Half Marathon or Marathon. By October or November, the weather in many parts of the country will become much more favorable for running a successful long distance event. Unfortunately, your training plan calls for you to do long runs during the heat and humidity of August and September. Here are some tips on how to successfully make it through your late summer long runs:

  • Watch the weather – first and foremost, watch the weather forecast. If you see in advance that your long run will fall on a day with less favorable conditions, you can adjust your plan accordingly. Keep in mind that your running performance drops below optimal levels when temperatures are above 55°F and will fall off 10% or more when temperatures exceed 80.

Fall Half Marathon

  • Plan B – if it looks like your long run is planned for a hot, humid day, consider these options:
    • Switch the day – consider moving your long run 1-2 days earlier (or later) if your schedule allows for it. Your long run is your most important run each week, so adjusting a couple of your other runs won’t hurt your training at all. The key goal for the week is to have a successful long run.
    • Start early – starting at 5 am can make a big difference in the amount of heat and humidity you may face in your long run. Getting most of your long run in before the sun comes out can really improve your chances for success.
    • Go for shade – a shady course can make as much as a 10° difference in ambient temperature.
    • Go Indoors – consider doing the long run on a treadmill or indoor track. It might be more boring, but the conditions will be much more favorable. To avoid boredom, listen to music or an ebook or run with a training partner.
  • If all else fails – if for some reason you have no other option and you must run in the heat and humidity, slow your pace. One of the main purposes of the long run is to teach your body to handle exertion and energy expenditure over a long period of time.  In the heat, exertion levels and energy expenditure will be much higher for a given running pace. Go as slowly as necessary to complete your long run, taking frequent hydration breaks and walking breaks. Don’t worry about your pace or time – the training effect is occurring and in your next long run, weather permitting, you will do and feel much better!

Stay confident through these late summer long runs and when the weather cools off, you will reap the benefits of this difficult training in the heat.

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Laurie Lasseter

Laurie Lasseter

RRCA-Certified Running Coach, ACE-Certified Personal Trainer (with Sports Conditioning Specialty Certification), ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor at L2 Performance Training
With over 28 years of Fitness Industry Experience, over 40 years of Endurance Running Experience and 30 marathon completions (including 3 Boston Marathons and all 6 World Marathon Majors – Chicago, New York, Boston, Berlin, London, Tokyo), Laurie specializes in training and working with runners to create a customized, comprehensive and integrated running, coaching and strength training program to help them achieve their running and racing goals while avoiding injury.

Laurie has used her methods to help her clients achieve injury-free race completions (including numerous age group and overall medals) as well as first marathon completions and time goal achievement at all distances (including Boston Marathon-Qualifying efforts).

Laurie owns L2 Performance Training and also trains clients at Edward-Elmhurst Health and Fitness in Woodridge, IL as well as at Charter Fitness (Willowbrook, IL) and LA Fitness (Bolingbrook, IL and Naperville, IL).She also writes regularly for the Naperville Marathon Blog and the Edward-Elmhurst Healthy Driven Life Blog.

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Laurie Lasseter

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