It won’t be long ‘til summer now, which means that your runs are going to get a whole lot hotter. When the weather heats up, it is normal to feel more lethargic because your brain signals your muscles to relax in a bid to bring your core temperature down. This, combined with seasonal allergies and the risk of dehydration can be enough to put you off running during the summer completely, but you shouldn’t let it. There’s no denying that running at the height of summer is more challenging, but you can beat it and keep pounding the pavements if you pay attention to these runner’s tips for beating the heat:
If temperatures are set to soar, set your alarm a bit earlier and run before the sun rises. This is the coolest time of the day, and because you’ve just woken up, your body temperature will also be pretty low, which means you can fit in your daily run without even breaking a sweat…in summer! You’ll also get to see some beautiful sunrises, which is always a bonus!
Check the Humidity
Perhaps even worse than summer heat, when you’re running, is humidity. When the air is moist, it is even harder for your body to cool itself down by sweating which means that you can easily start to feel overwhelmed. If you check your location’s heat index before you plan a run, you will be able to see how humid it’s going to get throughout the day, and so plan your workout accordingly.
Dress for the Season
There is an endless supply of women’s running clothes in every shape, size and color imaginable – you just have to take a look at Adidas online to see that – but if you want to stay cool, calm and collected on your summer runs, you can’t just pick out any outfit that takes your fancy. What you need to do is wear light-colored running clothes, which are also loose fitting and designed specifically for the purpose of running. Ideally, you should wear technical fabrics, which will wick away moisture from your body and allow the air to cool you.
If it’s sunny out, it is also a really good idea to wear a visor, which will ensure you can see properly and keep your face protected from the harmful rays of the sun. Always slather on the sunscreen too!
Cool Down First
It might sound strange, but instead of waiting until you’ve run your 5k to cool down, do it before you set off. Drink an icy drink, take a dip in a pool or have an ice cold shower to lower your core temperature and it will take longer for you to start overheating when you exercise.
Concentrate on the Head and Neck
If you start to get too hot, use some of your water (and you should bring plenty of water along on a summer run) to cool down your head and neck area, either by pouring it directly over your head or by soaking a sponge in the water and applying it to your body. This is the fastest way to lower your core temperature.
Don’t Push It
You might be able to continue running in the scorching summer sun, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach any personal bests, and if you want to stay safe you probably shouldn’t try. There is nothing wrong with lowering your expectations for the season – as long as you keep running, you’ll stay in shape, and you’ll have the autumn to smash those all-important records.
Whether you’re usually good about drinking plenty of water when running or not, the summertime is when it is most important to drink like a pro. If you want to stay well hydrated and avoid any mishaps on the track, you should drink a minimum of half your bodyweight in ounces each day. So, if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces of water a day minimum, and a couple of hours before you head off for a run, drink around 16 ounces of the good stuff, followed by an additional glass 10 minutes before you start.
When you’re running, you’ll want to consume 15-20 ounces for every hour on the go, and when you finish, you should replace any lost fluids by drinking an additional 8-24 ounces of water and sports drinks that contain essential electrolytes, including sodium, which will be lost when you sweat.
Do you love running in the summer? What are your top tips for getting through the season unscathed?
This is a contributed post.