While summer has a lot of perks, the hotter months can often be the bane of the runner's existence.
Thanks to global warming, rarely do temperatures gradually warm up these days. More often than not, the summertime highs arrive overnight, and this summer is no different. With 90 degree days and clammy 80 degree nights becoming the norm, it can be hard for a runner to find the right time, or even the motivation, to hit the pavement. For those still determined to continue their training outdoors, or for those looking to kick start their running career, here are a couple of things you need to know about running in the heat before you lace up.
Go Slow and End Slow
running in heat
A good warmup is already imperative to a successful run, but it's even more important when things are heating up. Make sure to start slow and gradually increase your heart rate, as this will give your body time to adjust to the hot temperatures. The same should be said for an end of a run. Slow it down for the last mile, and end with a nice walk. This will help regulate your heart rate and begin the cooling process for your body.
runner applying sunscreen
Make sure before you head out, no matter what time of day it is, that you lather up with some reliable sunscreen. We all know the UV rays from the sun can cause skin cancer and a bunch of other issues, and that's especially true in the hot summer months. Word to the wise: Make sure your sunscreen is sweat proof, because getting a mixture of sunscreen and sweat in your eyes as you run is a special kind of pain.
Run Early or Late
run early morning
Unless your body is conditioned for high intensity heat and humidity, most runners will opt to run either in the early morning or early evening, when the sun isn't so high in the sky and the temperatures begin to cool. Sure, the humidity will still be a problem, but without the sun shining directly on you, it will be much more tolerable.
Hit the Trails
When temperatures start to heat up, running on the concrete is the last thing you wanna do. Concrete retains heat, and trail running often offers a shade that will keep you cool as you run. Trail runs are also rockier and will force you to slow down. Not to mention that trails are often littered with small lakes or rivers and can offer the perfect body of water to submerge in post-run.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Make sure you fill up a temperature-regulated water bottle with both freezing cold water and ice for when you return from your run. If you're training for a marathon and running for more than 75 to 90 minutes, make sure you carry a portable water bottle with you. Sweating is a dehydrating process, and hot temperatures will obviously make any runner sweat more. Make sure you stay on top of retaining those fluids if you wanna hit the streets in the heat.