I don't know about you, but I am NOT a fan of running in the heat. That four mile non-stop run I was so proud of 10 days ago seems a distant memory. My last two outings covered 3 miles, and I had to walk part of it. I'm not an early riser so starting at 9 a.m. has been putting me in the 70s temp range. I still can't get over how a lovely 75 degrees can start to feel like a brutal 90 just half a mile into a run.

So I'm watching for rain in the forecast and vowing to make the most of any droplets that come my way. If I'm lucky enough for it to be showering when I get home from work, dinner will wait.

Here are my four favorite tips for running in the heat, from Runner's World. The first one is brilliant:

* If you have access to a swimming pool, do your routine in the water. "Substitute one weekly outdoor walk or run with a pool-running session of the same duration. If youre new to pool running, use a flotation device and simply move your legs as if you were running on land, with a slightly exaggerated forward lean and vigorous arm pump."

* Don't fret about your pace. "Every 5F rise in temperature above 60F can slow your pace by as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile. So dont fight itjust slow down."

* Save the breeze for your return trip. "If possible, start your run going with the wind and then run back with a headwind. Running into the wind has a cooling effect, and youll need that in the second half of a run."

* Get off the streets and sidewalks. "Seek grass and shade: Its always hotter in cities than in surrounding areas because asphalt and concrete retain heat. If you must run in an urban or even a suburban area, look for shadeany park will do."

There are more tips here: http://www.runnersworld.com/run-nonstop/running-in-the-heat . The site also disusses how to prevent heat related illnesses like heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

I bought a headband that is also a visor. Even mesh hats seem hot to me, so this cool creation lets all the heat escape the top of my head while keeping my face in the shade. (Truth be told, I also like it because if I look toward the ground, passersby won't be tempted to try and stop me when they see the cherry red my face naturally turns with any exertion!)

Hopefully you've all invested in tech shirts and running socks by now - garments that use wicking fabrics to pull moisture away from your skin and keep you cooler and dryer than cotton. If you haven't, put it on your agenda for this weekend. You're going to want to break them in before our big race June 24. A big rule among runners: Don't wear anything on race day that you haven't worn while training. We don't need any surprises that we can avoid.

- Paula