Tips for Surviving Marathon Training in the Summer

How to Survive Marathon Training in the Summer

two men on an early morning run
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It’s been said that a marathon is a race made up of hundreds of miles, with a 26.2-mile finish. Many marathoners do find the marathon training to be more difficult and grueling than the race itself, especially if you’re training in the heat and humidity of the summer. Follow these tips to stay safe and perform your best during summer marathon training.


Your first few runs in very hot or humid weather are going to feel very difficult because your body isn’t used to those conditions. It takes about two weeks of running consistently in the heat for your body to acclimatize to it. So, be patient, and give yourself a chance to adjust. Try to run at least a few runs each week outside to get acclimatized. Doing just one run a week outdoors isn’t consistent enough to make much of a difference.

Run early.

Woman Running on Beach in the Morning
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Beat the heat by running in the early morning or evening hours. Try to avoid running between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the hottest part of the day. Mornings are usually cooler than evenings in the summer because the sun heats up the ground during the day. An added benefit of doing long runs in the morning is that you’ll get your body used to getting up early and running long, which is what you’ll be doing on marathon day. In addition, morning runners are much more consistent, so you'll be more likely to get your runs checked off your training schedule.

Also see:  10 Tips for Running in the Morning

Stay hydrated.

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It may seem obvious that you need to stay hydrated while you’re running, but it also goes for before and after your runs. You should be drinking water during the day, especially in the couple of days leading up to your long runs. How do you know you’re staying hydrated?  Do a urine check. It should be a light lemonade color. If it’s dark yellow, you’re not drinking enough water.

Also see:  How to Stay Hydrated Before, During, and After Your Runs

Drink a pre-run slushie

woman drinkng slushie
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An exercise researcher in New Zealand found that drinking a syrup-flavored ice slushie before running on a treadmill extended runners' endurance by an average of 10 minutes.

It's not exactly clear why slushies had that effect, but one possible explanation is that the slushies lowered the runners' body temperature before they started running, allowing them to run longer before they felt the effects of the heat.

The time difference wasn’t huge, so a pre-race slushie won't keep you going through your entire long run. But it could be enough to give you a little extra boost in the first several miles.

Don’t stress about pace.

Runner Outdoors
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Some runners suffer with dehydration or other heat-related illnesses during or after hot and humid workouts because they pushed themselves too hard. Don’t try to keep the same paces that you’d do during a cooler run. You need to account for the extreme conditions and therefore slow your pace. Don’t worry about your training being off. As long as you’re running on a consistent basis, you’ll still get the benefits of your workouts. Once the temperature and humidity drop, you’ll be amazed at how much faster and stronger you’ll be running.

Do some treadmill runs.

woman on treadmill

While it’s good to do the majority of your miles outside so your body adapts to the pounding on the road, it’s perfectly fine to do some of your runs on the treadmill.  On some days when it’s extremely hot and humid, you’ll have a much safer and more productive run if you run on the treadmill.

Although some runners find treadmill running boring, it does have its benefits, including being able to run at your pace without worrying about heat-related illnesses, having easy access to water, and not needing to use sunscreen.

Also see:

Choose clothing carefully.

Runners Warming Up Before Race
Chris Leschinsky

Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself naturally. Avoid tight clothing, since it restricts that cooling process. Don’t wear dark colors because they’ll absorb the sun's light and heat. Light colors will reflect the sun from your skin.

If you want to wear something on your head, wear a visor, not a hat.  A hat traps heat on your head, while a visor will allow your head to release heat and will be much cooler.

Also see: How to Dress for Hot Weather Running

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