Summer running is great to think about when it’s snowing and cold in January, but once here, brings its own challenges. To make sure you’re getting the best out of your summer runs, here are some tried and true tips to help you beat the heat and keep running:
It might go without saying, but try to avoid running in the middle of the day (unless you’re into pain and suffering). The sun is at its highest point at noon, which means the hottest part of the day is shortly thereafter, in early to mid afternoon. So maybe you should reschedule that 3pm run. Set your alarm and get out the door early, or wait until later in the evening to give yourself a break.
Along those same lines, be adaptable and able to change your routine if the weather dictates. You have a workout scheduled for Saturday morning, but the meteorologists are predicting record heat and humidity. Change your routine around and get the workout done on another day where the weather conditions aren’t going to be as challenging – you’ll be able to push harder and recover faster. Don’t be so rigid with your training schedule – because the weather won’t change just for you!
Asphalt and pavement absorbs and radiates heat like it’s going out of style. That’s why it always seems hotter and more stifling in the middle of a city. Try and get out onto a trail or on grass if you can – these surfaces don’t absorb as much heat. Grass converts light energy from the sun, which means it doesn’t radiate that heat like pavement does.
Opt for loose-fitting, synthetic fabrics over your old cotton t-shirt. Synthetic materials wick sweat and stay drier, and a loose-fitting top helps air flow through and give you a little bit of a breeze.
The water temperature is always going to be cooler than the air temperature, so if there’s any kind of breeze, you’ll get a little cool down. Plus, a nice view always helps when you’re struggling!
It’s not enough to chug your water bottle right before your run (and all that liquid swishing around in your stomach can make for an uncomfortable run); you need to get your drink on all day! Make sure you have water on hand during your run and try electrolyte replacements to keep you fueled up!
An often overlooked component of summer running – don’t forget your sunscreen! It’s harder to notice that you’re getting fried when you’re already feeling hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable – but it’s pretty easy to get a nasty sunburn during a long run in the middle of the summer. Cover all your exposed skin and keep yourself safe!
This goes along with being flexible. On a super hot or humid day, your mile splits are likely going to be a little slower than you might want. Your body is working harder to cool itself, so you have less energy to put into your run. Accept that, and run based on perceived exertion (how hard it feels like you’re working), rather than relying solely on what your watch is telling you.