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Posts tagged ‘Ask Jane’

Ask Jane: Beating the heat

It was at mile two in this weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon that I became overwhelmed by a sense that it was going to be a hot one. Sure, the Mermaid Series Sirena 18 included the sun beating down on me, but the San Diego mix of heat and humidity was ridiculous. And I couldn’t even see the sun.

Now I know, we’ve reach THAT time of the year.

It’s hot.


It’s not quite summer yet, but the heat is already hitting the valley where I live. I wake up and it’s nearly 70-degrees outside. It makes me regret never really getting into morning running. It’s so much cooler in the morning than it is when I want to run at 7 p.m. In the evening, the concrete is still hot. I can feel it moving through the rubber soles on my shoes, I swear.

seejanerunASKBut runners are creatures of habit. We’re not quick to dismiss our passions just because it’s getting a little warm.

Last month, I asked the ladies at See Jane Run in Oakland for tips and tricks to help stay cool while the weather heats up. The staff offered some great suggestions to help acclimate to the weather. The question led to another post specifically on hydration, but the ladies also had other tips to share.

This post comes just in time for this weekend’s See Jane Run 5K and Half Marathon in Alameda, the first of four running events hosted by the store, with locations in Boise, Seattle and Whicita, Kansas. The weather forecast is calling for a temperature of 74 with western winds at 14 miles-per hour. No cloud cover.

Needless to say, it’s going to feel a little warm out there.



Depending on the time of year purchased, running clothes can vary greatly in the make and feel of fabric. Didn’t know that? Neither did I until I spoke with Ginny at See Jane Run’s Oakland store.

She showed me a noticeable difference in clothes for different climates. That T-shirt you bought during the fall? It may not be the best for running as it warms up. Those tights you love? They may be keeping in too much body heat.

Next time you visit your local running store, feel the fabric. Yes, that sounds a little bizarre, but when you do you’ll notice something about clothes designed for warm-weather running: They are lighter.

That goes for shorts, capris or shirts, including tank tops.

I have a Nike tank top that I love wearing. It’s a darker blue color one and I always considered it lightweight. Then I came across a Nike Sculpt Tank at See Jane Run. The difference between the two tanks is night and day. My new pink one doesn’t have as much mass. I don’t feel like my body is holding in as much heat when I’m wearing it.

This is the time of the year when you’ll find running stores stocking up on summer-related clothes in seasonal colors (hello neon). It’s not just because these stores are trying to sell you clothes you don’t need. There is an actual difference in the products.



Brooks clothing actually includes tags that tell customers what climate their possible purchase is best-used for. It’s a nice touch.

You’ll also likely notice more light colors when you see fellow runners. My favorite go-to tanks right now are soft pinks, yellows and oranges. I’m rarely putting on my darker-colored garb. Why? Darker colors absorb more light.

There’s a fashionable element to these potential new purchases, but it’s also about function.


“You are going to chafe more,” said Ginny. Because, of course, you’re likely going to sweat more. This includes your feet. They sweat too. So get some Glide, or the equivalent.

Lately, I’ve been using Skin Glide between my toes to make sure they are lubricated enough. Blisters are bad enough as it is. Blisters during the summer months just are downright undesirable.


I know, if you’re like me, you’d rather not change the time of day you run. This was especially the case when I was working out of town and commuting home every day. I had a small window to fit a run in. I either did the run or risked having to head out during a rather runner unfriendly time of night (after 9 p.m., sometimes closer to 10 p.m.).

So, many times, I gave in and moved my run to the morning.

See Jane Run’s Ginny said she, too, would often head out for a run and realize it was a little too warm. Adjust. Be OK with the adjustment.

I’m a stalwart for my night runs, but sometimes it pays to run in the early morning hours (some of my summer training runs were as early as 5 a.m.) just to get the run in during a cooler time of the day.


Trees are your friends. Embrace the foliage! OK, that’s cheesy. But it’s something to take into consideration. If you’re standard running route takes you through new subdivisions with five-year old trees, you probably aren’t getting enough coverage to keep you cool.

That’s what happened to me last summer when, at the peak of a training period, I realized I was too hot and too tired only two miles in. I found a new route, with trees most of the way, in a more established neighborhood.

There’s also the treadmill (gasp!). I’ve written about my love for my personal hamster wheel before, but during the summer that love is sometimes a fiery passion. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve started runs outside, dissolved into a puddle of sweat and relented back to the treadmill with two fans blowing on me to finish.

We have days where I live where the temperature is 105 or so. As much as I try to watch the weather advisories beforehand to see if my training runs are falling on a particularly warm day, sometimes I have a run scheduled on one of those scorchers.



I’m notorious for my sunburns. I don’t tan. I just burn. I’ve always had pale skin, so when I go into the sun at all, I’m all about the sunscreen. I pack two bottles, at least, whenever I go somewhere to run. This past weekend in San Diego, I caked Coppertone SPF 30 on my skin and STILL ended up with bright pink lines around where my Garmin sits on my left wrist.

Both my running buddies don’t have this problem. They could run all day and be perfectly bronzed by the evening. Last year during my six-hour endurance run, I had to apply sunscreen every hour or so … and I still ended up with a sunburn.

For quick application, I usually invest in a multi-pack of spray-on sunscreen at the beginning of the season. I think it’s a good idea, even if you aren’t prone to burning.



I devoted an entire blog post to this topic, but I’ll briefly touch on it again because it’s THAT important. First off, it’s always a good idea to drink more water as it gets warmer. I fell victim to some pretty significant dehydration on Monday when, at an amusement park, my husband and I shared one bottle of water.

By the time we left, after standing in long lines for extended periods of time, I was so thirsty. Remember, being thirsty is your body telling you it’s already dehydrated. The night before a race or a long run, I’m especially increasing my intake so I don’t feel parched before I even get to the start line.

Carry water with you. Make sure your route includes fountains if you are prone to running out. Bring a couple dollars to purchase a bottle of water if you have to. Just keep the water coming in.


“If I don’t run those eight miles today, I’ll be so behind in training,” I once told my husband when it was 100 degrees outside and you could see mirages coming off of the pavement.

I think I ran a mile then decided it wasn’t happening. It was just way too uncomfortable.

“Even if it isn’t the heat, it’s the sun,” said Ginny.

It was be a cooler 75-degree day and the sun right above you can completely devastate a run. Know when to quit. Don’t be afraid to throw in the towel after wiping off all your sweat. It won’t ruin your training. In fact, waiting for a cooler day might make your training run even better.

Just don’t push it. Your body will thank you later.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The views on this blog are merely suggestions. As always, consult a doctor before you start any new workout routine.

Ask Jane: Hydration as a habit


I’ll admit that I rotate three or four water bottles during the week, especially right before a race. It kind of drives my husband crazy because I leave them in different rooms. The San Luis Obispo Marathon bottle is usually in my home office or in my classroom. The Nike Women’s Half Marathon bottle spends most of its time in my bedroom. The Title Nine bottle, the white one, was rolling around the backseat of my Jeep until last week when I had to clean out my car.

The silver See Jane Run bottle, my latest addition, is now a constant in my kitchen.

On a typical day, all of them will start out full. By the end of the day, all are usually empty.

Hydration is THAT important. Especially now.

seejanerunASKThe sun is starting to feel a little brighter. The temperature is more than a bit warmer. Let’s face it, it’s hot. And the heat is being absorbed into the sidewalks and, even at 7 p.m., it still feels warm when I head out for an evening run.

That’s one of the reasons I asked the staff at See Jane Run in Oakland about topics pertaining to running in warmer weather, exactly what we’re facing right now in California as summer approaches.

One of the biggest concerns this time of year: Hydration.

And not just on race day.


“If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated,” said Kerina, the social media manager for See Jane Run and one of my Jane interviewees at the Oakland store on College Avenue. “If you are training for a race, you need to be hydrating nonstop.”

Most runners know the feeling: You’re doing fine, making your way out for a long-run. You feel like you’ve prepared sufficiently when, almost instantly, you feel as if you can’t get to the nearest water fountain soon enough.

As the sun becomes more intense, most people think THIS is the time of year to start thinking about drinking lots and lots of water. As a runner, it’s essential year round.

Kerina said that thirst you experience is your body’s way of telling you that you’re depleted.

In fact, the Mayo Clinic recommends that women drink nine cups of water a day.

Ginny, another Jane, points out that the magic hydration number, though, needs to be increased for those working out. A WebMD story backs that up, explaining athletes should be drinking around three cups of water in the hours before exercise, a cup to 10 ounces immediately before and then a cup every 15 minutes or so.

Seem like a lot? Not really considering how much water is expelled from our systems daily.

This is true even if you don’t consider yourself an “athlete.” Ginny said some women say “oh, I just run 10 miles a week” and feel like they aren’t really “runners.” Not true.

“You are an athlete, you are a runner – treat yourself like it,” said Ginny.


In many ways, drinking a ton of water doesn’t sound appealing. I know. I’ve been there. There’s that moment when you can’t drink anymore. NOT. ANOTHER. SIP. UGH.

Kerina has a recommendation for that sort of “over it” symptom.

Nuun tablets are a good way to add a little flavor. The brand has really taken off over the past year, especially with more than 10 flavors, including Cherry Limeade, Lemon Tea and Banana.


My favorites happen to be Lemon Lime and Grape. These tablets are portable and travel well.

Miranda, the third Jane I spoke with Oakland, recommended Nuun tablets to both add flavor, but also add crucial electrolytes back to the body. That’s important during training and on race day.

Ginny agreed.

“Water is important, but you won’t feel good until you have those electrolytes in you,” she said.


We all know the “nothing new on race day” mantra. Even beginning runners have heard it. Proper hydration is part of that plan.

Consider water bottles. I am consistent about running with my Amphipod 20-ounce water handheld.

It’s a little overwhelming when you walk into any running store and don’t know where to start. Kerina said it comes down to personal preference. Belts are popular.


They offer a nice balance around the mid section and provide water or water/electrolyte mix in smaller doses. I know runners who prefer these over larger water bottles because they can moderate intake much better, i.e. every bottle per three or four miles.

I prefer holding a bottle.


There are many, many choices in this area. I prefer one with a pocket to carry my “stuff.” That usually means my keys and a bunch of packets of Vanilla Bean Gu. Or some cash.

See Jane Run also has a “best of both worlds” kind of hydration system. It’s a belt with a larger water bottle. I actually ran with one of these when I started running distances over six miles. It’s nice because it holds more “stuff” and also has a bigger water bottle.


Some runners would rather not carry water. It’s important, then, to know where water stops are either along your daily running route or at a race. A typical running route doesn’t present many problems. A race brings surprises.

I ran a half marathon last year in deceivingly cool San Francisco weather. I carried my 20-ounce water bottle. But I was thirsty (likely from not hydrating well the days before, a rookie mistake even though I know better). By the time I was on the Golden Gate Bridge where there were no water stops, I was out of water and feeling faint.

Know where the water stops are, but be prepared if things don’t go as planned.


The bottom line is the hydration is incredibly important. So important that my questions for one blog post, about warm-weather running, turned into a series that included this as the kick-off point. The biggest recommendation from the crew at See Jane Run is to make hydration a part of your everyday life. Like all healthy changes (taking up running in the first place, included) it works better when it becomes a habit.

Happy hydrating!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The views on this blog are merely suggestions. As always, consult a doctor before you start any new workout routine or if you are having issues with hydration.