Summer Speed Workouts for Hot Weather Training

Summer Speed Workouts for Hot Weather Training

The high humidity and heat place extra demands on your body while running. Your body directs more blood flow to your skin in order to cool you, thus increasing your heart rate at any given pace. Running is harder in summer and your paces are often slower at the same effort level. 

Workouts like continuous tempo runs or long intervals become more difficult in the summer. In these long efforts, your heart rate increases as the run progresses and your body works even harder to regulate your core temperature. You can overheat, have to stop mid-run (thus defeating part of the purpose of the workout), or have a mentally defeating run. None of these are ideal options. 

There are smarter, better options for summer speed workouts. Intervals with deliberate recovery breaks in them are more feasible in summer weather. It’s not lazy or cheating if the workout is structured to include timed recovery jogs. Remember that you want to train smart: not every workout should be a maximum effort. For most of your workouts, you should finish feeling as if you could run another repeat or mile at that pace. Otherwise, you risk overtraining and plateauing. When you structure your workouts with short recovery breaks in summer, you aren’t cheating: you are being smart about your training load. 

Summer is often the early season of training for fall races. Workouts such as fartleks, tempo intervals, and hill repeats fit well into the earlier, more broadly-focused weeks of training, whether you are training for 5Ks and 10Ks or a marathon. If the heat and humidity are high, focus on your perceived effort and ventilatory rate instead of pace. 

Summer Speed Workouts for Hot Weather Training

Summer Speed Workouts

Surges Running Workout: Surges are a fantastic workout for developing leg speed. The short duration of the intervals is manageable even on hot and humid runs. 

Short Interval Fartlek Run: One minute may seem short, especially to long-distance runners, but you can still get an effective workout. These short intervals develop leg speed and improve running economy. Short intervals are a valuable workout whether you are training for a 5K or a marathon. The short duration of the hard intervals and equal time spent recovering between prevents overtaxing in the heat.

30-Minute Fartlek Run: On hot days, a shorter run is sometimes the better choice. This 30-minute workout will improve your VO2max without depleting yourself on the track. If you want to run for longer, you can extend the warm-up and cool down. 

Mile Repeats at Tempo Pace: Continuous tempo runs are difficult in the hottest months of the year. By breaking the tempo run into mile-long repeats at tempo pace with 1-minute recovery jogs, you achieve the same purpose of the workout (training at lactate threshold) without letting your heart rate spike too high. As an added benefit, this workout trains you to tune into tempo pace. It can be easy to run too fast for just one mile, so you must learn how to pace yourself. 

 Marathon Fartlek Workout: This is another workout that requires the ability to control your pace – a vital skill for marathoners. The short duration of the intervals keeps effort and heart rate at the appropriate level, even on a hot and humid day. 

Hill Repeats: Most hill repeats last 30 seconds to 2 minutes in duration, with ample recovery jogs in between. The focus on effort instead of pace is ideal for summer runs when you would be running slower than normal anyway. On very hot days, you can seek shaded trails rather than roads thanks to the versatility of hill repeats. 

For more tips on summer running, reference these posts:
How to Adjust Speed Workouts to Summer Heat and Humidity 
Tips for Racing in the Heat
Heat Acclimatization for Summer Running 
Surviving Summer Running {Run It Round Up}

[Tweet “Train smarter in the #summer heat with these summer #running #workouts via @lauranorrisrun”]

Do you adjust your workouts in summer?


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4 Responses

  1. I don’t change what speed workout I’m doing based on the summer weather, however I always make sure to used my perceived effort rather than having to hit specific time cut-offs for repetitions.

    Great write up about other speed workout options!

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