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The scorching summer heat might slow you down, but not when you follow these essential summer running tips.
Keywords: running in the heat, hot weather
Summer is a runner’s favorite season. But as you transition from cooler spring to hot and humid summers, this can take a toll on your body. If you are planning to kick start running in the heat, don’t forget to read our 8 essential summer running tips below.
Get Used to the Heat
If you run regularly, you would know how a change in weather can affect your performance. As the weather changes from spring to summer, it can take some time for your body to adjust to the new season. According to research, it takes around two weeks for the body to adjust to warmer weather. So it is a good idea that you allow your body to get used to the heat early in the season. Though the heat and humidity may slow you down and you may be unwilling to go outdoors, it is essential that you run regularly for the first few days of summer. Once your body gets used to the heat, you will regain your performance, but the first two weeks are critical.
Run at the Right Time
Various studies have shown the relationship between the temperature and performance of runners. The results indicate that higher temperatures may affect running performance. So one of the best ways to beat the heat is to start early or later during the day. Ideally, runners can choose a time before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m. because that is when the temperatures aren’t as high as during the afternoon.
If you have a flexible work schedule, you can use the weather forecast to plan your next day. Choose a time of the day where the "feels like" temperature is not too high so you can run without getting exhausted. Remember that the “feels like” temperature can be very different from the actual temperature.
Wear Light Colored, Breathable Gear
Dark-colored sports gear can absorb heat and influence your body temperature and performance. Therefore, it is best to go for light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable sports gear. Ensure the fabric of your gear deflects the sun's rays and allows your body to cool down. If you are not sure about the right type of running gear, you can experiment with your apparel and find the best one for you.
As a general rule, if you live in an area with high humidity, you should wear fewer layers of clothing. Also, since your leg muscles produce the most heat, it is best to go for shorts instead of fully covering your legs with leggings or jogging pants. It is a good idea to use a high-quality sunscreen that protects your skin against UV rays and use UV-rated sunglasses to protect your eyes. Some runners also prefer to add a cap into their gear. This protects the face and eyes from sunlight while keeping your hair back.
As you run a mile, your body loses between 6 and 12 oz. of fluid. If not compensated, this can lead to severe dehydration. Therefore replacing the lost fluids in your body is extremely important. You don't only have to drink water after running, but it is equally important to drink before you go for a run in the heat. Make sure you drink between 10 and 15 oz. of fluid before running. Also, as you run, continue to take a few sips every 20 minutes.
One thing that you should remember is to drink water before you actually feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, your body has already lost 1% of the total fluid, and your performance goes down by 10%. So take a sip every few minutes instead of waiting for the signal from your body. The most accurate determinant of hydration is the color of your urine. If your urine is light in color, your body is adequately hydrated, but if your urine is dark, you need to increase your fluid intake.
Plan Your Route
Make sure you choose a running route where you can refill your water bottle or easily find drinking water fountains. So while local parks are a popular runner's choice, it is a good idea to have a run close to water or in the shade. Temperatures within the city tend to be higher compared to areas near water such as a lake, a river or the coastline. So whenever it is possible, choose a running route near water. Also, it is a good idea to run around a route that has a lot of trees. The shade from the trees will protect you against the sunlight, and you can squeeze in a long run without getting tired.
Run by Effort Not Pace
It is only normal for runners to feel frustrated when you can't run at a certain pace. A better approach, especially during summers, is called an effort-based approach. This way, you focus more on getting the training rather than running at a certain speed. And when you continue to run with effort, your body will get into the flow, and you will develop the habit of running regularly instead of running quickly.
Stop When Needed
One of the most critical things to remember as you run during the summers is to know when to stop. If you feel dehydrated, are unable to concentrate, or are dizzy or nauseated, these are the warning signs of potential heatstroke. Immediately stop running and find yourself a cool spot where you can relax and have a drink. You can have water, juice, or any fluid replacement drink. Stay at the same place till you feel better. In case you have to drive back home, make sure you arrange some support.
If you have any cardiac or respiratory problems, don’t forget to consult with your doctor before you go for a run during the summer heat.
Let Your Body Cool Down
As a rule, you need to give your body enough time to cool down on its own. So don't rush for a shower as soon as you get back home. Instead, let your body cool down. Meanwhile, you have a glass of water or enjoy a watery fruit to replace lost fluids and energy.
Running during summer may be a challenge for some, but if you keep these eight tips in your mind, your body can quickly get into the habit of running during the heat.