5 Ways to Prepare for Running in the Heat
Summer is here, and along with it comes the heat. It isn’t long before we start missing those cooler fall days where we can go out for a run without coming back looking like we just sat in a steam room for an hour.
We know we need to stay hydrated and keep drinking often, but what other tips help runners to adjust to running during the summer months. Not only does a little preparation make your summer runs more enjoyable, but it can also make them safer.
Here are 5 tips to keep you cool and enjoying your training, no matter what temperature comes your way this summer.
Run in the morning if possible
You will quickly notice that running in the heat is not as enjoyable as more moderate temperatures.
If you can, try to finish your run before the sun is high in the sky, or run once the sun has gone down in the evening If you have a long run, be sure to start early as you can so you only have a short amount of time in the heat.
Once you are in the routine of sacrificing an hour of sleep to get your training in before the temperatures soar, you will soon see how much better it feels, and how accomplished you feel.
There will be a smirk on your face as you head into the office knowing that you have already done more this morning than most people will all day!
Find places to run that have plenty of shade
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If running during the daylight hours are unavoidable, try to find some places to run that have plenty of tree cover, as the temperature will be significantly cooler there.
Areas with tall trees are the best places to run in summer, as the trees block the sun, and therefore the heat. This is also a great opportunity to give your body a break from the pounding of hard surfaces.
When tree cover is tough to find, find lighter colored surfaces to run on, avoiding asphalt and other black top surfaces as they will reflect the heat back up making it feel even hotter.
Dress for success
Running in a hat will keep the sun off your face, making it feel a little cooler. It is also helpful to wear sunglasses so you do not need to squint as well as protecting your eyes from sun damage.
You want to wear sweat wicking fabrics if you can, as they will draw the sweat from your body and onto the material. By removing the sweat from your skin, your body can cool itself better, which will keep your internal temperature lower, making it a more comfortable experience for you.
Less warm up
In the summer you do not need as long to warm your muscles up for fast running. If you are racing, just run for long enough to feel as though you are sweating and your muscles are warm.
If you insist on a long warm up, you are sweating away your precious electrolytes that will make you struggle later in the race, as well as asking your body to work hard to cool you down before the race even begins.
Make sure you also take the time to replenish your electrolytes and rehydrate quickly after your summer runs otherwise you are putting yourself in a dangerous place, allowing yourself to be more susceptible to issues like heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Bring ice cubes
If you have easy access to a cooler, bring it to your run and put the ice cubes on the back of your neck and on your wrists as often as you can. It will help to lower your body temperature and make you feel a little better as you get some relief from the hot weather.
If you have access to water, but not ice cubes, pour the water on your head to cool your body down a little. Make sure you prioritize drinking the water first though, staying hydrated is much more important than the limited relief that a cup of water on your head can bring.
Summer running is not easy. It truly tests our commitment and mental strength, but if you follow these tips and make it through the summer season of running, you will have some great races coming your way as the humidity and temperature drops in the fall.