So Summer is here, along with some crazy hot, hot, days. As a Floridian I am used to hot, humid, uncomfortable weather. But fighting the heat isn’t as tough as you think. There are many ways to beat the heat and have a successful run. Many of us could really use the Summer time to our full advantage in training for that upcoming race in the fall! Here are some tips to keep you safe and running efficient in the hot Summer heat:
1.- Race the sun. Hitting the pavement before the sun rises is a smart way to stay out of the sun. The temps are cooler before the sun rises and the humidity tends to be low. If morning runs are not for you (I know I don’t enjoy it) another alternative is run at sun down. It is not as hot as midday and you still have enough light to safely take a quick run. If you run past sun down make sure to carry a light or wear something reflective for others to see you.
2.- Run near water. From personal experience I’ve noticed that running near a lake or the ocean, tends to have a slight cooler breeze rolling off of it. When you do trail runs, or along the streets, the breeze is very minimal if non-existent. Check out your area for any parks that have running trails along lakes or rivers. You will feel a difference.
3.- on your mark,get set,no! Since coming off a cold winter, and cool spring, easing into Summer is important. Starting off a little less intense will help you out. Your body has to get used to the change in weather and higher demands from your body. Heat causes the body to work more thus gets tired quicker. So give your body some time to get used to the new conditions, don’t do speed runs the first week or so in the heat. Keep your runs short and sweet; unless you run before sunrise or late sun down. Don’t over do it. Give your body at least 2 weeks to get used to the temps and then you can gradually bump up your running.
4.-Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! The hotter it is outside, the more fluid you need to drink. On your run days try to drink at least 8oz of fluids every hour.(If you get cramps easily lower your fluid by a little bit) When you are out running you should be drinking constantly. Take some water with you, or stop at water fountains to take a sip. It it recommended to drink every hour. I can’t do that because I cramp very easily so I take sips of water so I actually drink water/Gatorade every mile and a half to 2 miles. An option on longer runs, you can do is to freeze some water and carry it in your fuel belt. It will be so cold and refreshing to your body’s high temperature.
5.- Wear the right cap. I see a lot of runners wearing baseball caps running, which is a great idea the protect your face from the sun. But, we do lose most of our body heat through our head, so putting on a snug fitted cap is not a great idea.You are keeping the heat inside. Instead wear a lose breathable cap with mesh material, or better yet a visor!
6.- precool, prerun. Lowering your body temperature before you head out the door could be useful. Drink ice, super cold, hydration fluids, and keep the room cool. Some runners wear ice packs, or ice vest to stay cool. Studies have shown that starting off cooler than normal before a run helps you run faster and farther.
7.- Wear light loose clothing. Instead of wearing black, wear a light color like white, blue, or yellow to reflect the sun instead of absorbing it. Also wearing something loose with allow a breeze to get through. Wearing moisture-wicking clothing helps you run more comfortable and doesn’t soak up the sweat like a cotton shirt would do.
8.- protect yourself. That bright big hot sun is also affecting your skin. Protect yourself from sun damage by rubbing on some sun screen; at least 30SPF. Even on cloudy days applying a little bit on could be beneficial and protects you against skin cancer, since the clouds don’t block the ultraviolet rays.
9.- I’m here for the club. Joining a running club could be beneficial in more ways than one. Being that summer time is the busiest time for runners as they train for fall races, a lot of running clubs are created. They are great to help you train with people on the same level as you and makes the training a little less difficult. Running clubs are also most active during the evening when the sun has gone down.
10.- bring it. Sometimes I like to cool myself down at a special water fountain that is on my trail because the water is sooo nice and cold. I take lots of little sips and use it to splash my face and head with water. It certainly gives my face a nice cool relief but this unfortunately doesn’t do much for my head, as you would need more than just a little splash on the hottest part of your body to cool you down. But it does feel so nice to have some cold water dripping down when it is stinking hot outside!
11.- frozen treats. Runners sometimes need to eat a small power snack while running. You get tired right? especially training in the hot summer heat! So I have found that freezing some of my favorite running snacks can help give you some energy and cool you down at the same time. Try freezing some fruits like grapes and watermelon! Put them in ziplock bags and toss them into your fuel belt! They are packed with fuel for us and so refreshing in hot days.
I hope these tips will help you avoid suffering during the hot months! Try finding which ways are best for your running needs. Depending on the type of runner you are some tips are more effective than others. Remember to stay cool and if you feel dizzy, light-headed, or starting a headache than you need to look at your hydration options again.