The end of spring signals the beginning of the summer running season. And, depending on where you live, that means a few months of hot weather. You can always run indoors on a treadmill, but nothing beats running in the outdoors, especially going to new running locations and checking out a change of scenery.
But you do need to prepare for summer running and it’s advisable to spend a couple of weeks of gradually building up your tolerance to it. Here are some tips to keep in mind while running in the summer heat:
- Run in the morning or in the late evening to avoid the intense mid day sun. Studies have shown that runners who do run in the morning are more likely to stick with the program. If you want to do an early morning run, sleep in your running clothes. It might sound crazy, but people that do it swear that it works.
- If you can’t run in the morning or late afternoon, at least try to pick the shadiest route, like trails through the woods or parks with a lot of trees. It’ll be better for you to run on the trails than on asphalt.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen, even if you are running early in the morning or late in the afternoon. As long as the sun is out, put on the sunscreen. Make sure it’s an SPF 15 or higher.
- Adjust to the heat by keeping the air conditioning off or turned down. If you have to, use a fan.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drink water 30 minutes before you head out and drink 6-8 ounces every hour or so. If you’re going on a long run, make sure you hydrate with a sports drink. Try to avoid any kind of liquid or substance that will further dehydrate you like caffeine, cold medicine, or diuretics.
- Wear lightweight clothing, but stay away from cotton. Wickaway or polyester is a good way to go. They have more of a cooling effect than cotton, which can weigh you down as you sweat. Also, make sure they are loose fitting.
- Dip towels in ice cold water and drape them around your neck, put them on your forehead, and have them ready when you finish your run.
Slow down or stop running if you have any kind of symptoms like dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, headache, clammy skin,confusion, loss of concentration, excessively rapid breathing, etc.
Summer running is great as long as you prepare beforehand, stay safe, and pace yourself.