Summer is upon us! The weather is so beautiful, and the outdoors are calling. Is it just me, or is it a million times easier to get out the door for a run in the summer? While the great weather might entice us to run more often, the sweltering heat and rising temperatures can present new challenges for your workout. These 7 tips will help you stay cool during your run!
1. Give Your Body Time to Acclimate
Start slow. It takes your body time to adjust to the higher temperatures. As temperatures rise, give your body time to acclimate by avoiding intense sessions for the first few hot days.
Each day is different and may present new challenges or weather conditions. Be flexible enough with your running schedule to adjust your speed, distance, and intensity to the conditions. Listen to your body, if you’re feeling lightheaded or sick know when it’s time to call it quits and head back indoors for some quality rest and recovery.
2. Avoid the Heat of Midday
Avoid running in the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak. The mornings or evenings will offer more comfortable temperatures, minimize UV damage to the skin, and give you a chance enjoy a quieter run with less traffic and stops along the way.
3. Wear Sweat Wicking Materials
Wearing the right clothes for the weather will make a world of difference. Choosing sweat-wicking materials will help you avoid trapping heat and moisture next to your body. Choose light colors which reflect the sunlight rather than trap it in. Finally, don’t forget a hat or sunglasses to protect your eyes, and to make it easier to see any potential dangers such as upcoming cars or other pedestrians.
4. Protect Your Skin
Protect your skin from sun damage, wear sunscreen. Choose a sport or waterproof sunscreen which will be more durable through sweaty runs.
5. Stay Hydrated
While exercising, your body loses fluids and minerals through sweat. On hot days, you’ll sweat even more, which makes it even more important to replenish the liquids and nutrients lost. It’s important that you enter your run well hydrated. Drink water regularly throughout the day. If you’re planning to run for more than an hour, you’ll want to have water available for a sip every once in a while. Whether you plan for a mid-run stop at home to freshen up, carry water along the way, or plan your route where public drinking fountains are available. On a particularly hot day, finish up a long run with a sports drink like Gatorade or propel to replenish electrolytes.
6. Look for New Routes
Throughout the cooler months, you may be fine running your neighborhood streets, or through the city. But on hot days, shade can make or break your workout. If your favorite routes don’t have much shade to offer, it may be time to look into local trails or routes that are shadier. Do a simple online search, or take your next long runs off the unbeaten path to explore new potential routes that might be a good addition to your regular rotation.
7. Find Alternatives
Every day may not be perfect for a run. Have a backup plan. Whether you get a cheap gym membership at a local gym, or install a cycle bike or treadmill to your home gym it’s great to have a second option. The more frequently you run, the more you’ll see that having that alternative whether you use it on a crazy hot day, to beat unhealthy air quality, or for lower impact to be kinder to aches and pains - you’ll be happy you have it as an option!
Remember to listen to your body. Do what you need to protect yourself from the heat, and prepare for your workout in advance so you can put your best foot forward for every single run.