While many people prefer running in the summer heat than the bitter cold of winter, hot weather does pose some challenges, particularly when it comes to speedwork. When the temperatures start getting into the high 20s and low 30s, running simply becomes harder, and cranking out mile repeats at 5K can feel nearly impossible. The next time you have a speed session on the schedule when it’s a million degrees out, try one of these workouts instead.
The time-based fartlek
Instead of trying to do 10 x 400m or 5 x 1km, turn these workouts into time-based efforts. In that case, 10 x 400m becomes 10 x 2 minutes, or 5 x 1km becomes 5 x 5 min. This will stop you from comparing your usual 400m time to workouts you’ve done in cooler weather, and will allow you to run based on effort, rather than pushing yourself too hard in the heat.
Another way to adapt your speedwork during the hot weather is to shorten up the intervals. For example, you could do one-minute intervals followed by a one-minute recovery jog. Repeat that 10 times (or more) and you’ve put in a solid speed session. Because the intervals are short, you can really crank up the speed without putting too much stress on your body, but since the recovery is also short, you still get a training effect. A Moneghetti Fartlek is also a great option for short, hard sprints.
Many runners find it hard to deviate from their training plan no matter what the reason, but just like in the winter, the key to enjoying summer running is adjusting your expectations and doing the best you can under the circumstances. That means sometimes shortening your workout, slowing down your pace or changing the workout to be more suitable to the conditions. Remember that if you’re putting in the work while still being kind to yourself and taking care of your body, you’ll still reap the rewards of training. If you train smart in the summer, you’ll be strong, healthy, and ready to grab your next PB come fall racing season.