Finally, We have some good weather! The sun is shining and we all want to don the shorts, short sleeves and get outside, but 10 minutes into the run, you remember the heat is no picnic. The heat and humidity can leave you exhausted, dehydrated and sweating profusely in a matter of minutes.
To help with this, we have a few tips, tricks and advice to help battle running in summer.
Our top 10 tips to beat the summer heat:
1. Cut down your clothing
Not literally cut them up! But make sure to wear proper breathable running apparel that is light in colour, has breathable mesh or vents and is lightweight. Short sleeves, vests and shorts are all good choices but make sure the fabric is moisture-wicking and breathable (important!). Make sure to sport a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for that extra level of protection.
2. Increase your fluid intake
Prevent dehydration by topping up your fluid intake, preferably with at least 500ml of sports drink at least an hour before starting your workout. Then keep consistently keep drinking every 20 minutes or so while in action.
Water is good, but we will always recommend using dedicated sports drinks as they contain valuable electrolytes, which help increase your water-absorption rate, help electrolyte replacement that gets lost when sweating and on top of that, they taste good, meaning you’re more likely to drink more, which is always a good thing.
3. Slow down
Yes, we get it, you want to beat your PB, which is already hard to do in the heat. The increased temperatures already slow your pace, so give in to it! Slow down and your body will be better for it.
4. Timing is everything
If you plan to run through the summer, you should know the sun is at its strongest between midday and 15:00. Even on the hottest days, it is considerably cooler in the mornings and evenings.
So make the extra effort to get it done in the morning, or if that’s not possible, wait until the evening.
5. Pick your route
Did you know the concrete and asphalt absorb heat? well its true, meaning that running in built-up areas is even hotter, not to mention the heat transfer from running on roads and paths.
Try to run in parks or covered trails where shade and trees can help block the sun. As a bonus, running on trails forces to you run slower, so that helps for tip #3.
6. Check the wind
Sounds weird right? but seriously, this can help. If possible, start your run with the wind and then run back with the headwind. The added cooling will make your second half of the run a lot more comfortable.
7. Check your heart rate
When it’s hot, your heart rate is elevated so you can imagine that even at your normal pace your heart rate is going to be boosted.
8. Take more breaks
Keep your body cool and your heart rate down with more frequent walking breaks. As you become stronger, more adept and your heart rate adjusts to the heat, you can shorten the breaks.
9. Know when to stop
If at any point you start to feel dizzy, lightheaded, struggling to breathe or cramping up, stop and find a shady area to rest. Drink fluids and always carry a phone in case you need to call someone for a pickup. Don’t force yourself!
10. Run around water
If possible, plan your run around water, this includes lakes, ponds, parks with fountains….the sea! Not only is the air and wind likely to be cooler, parks usually have drinking fountains to help keep fluid up (for those that hate carrying bottles) and some places you can even run through the fountains, refreshing!
Advantages to running in the heat
Although running in the heat might seem tough, it does have some great advantages! It causes your body to acclimatize and adapt to its new conditions.
- You start sweating at a quicker rate, this keeps you cool…but remember to replace it with plenty of fluids.
- With the new conditions, your body learns to control its body temperature at a much better rate. Meaning once you have acclimatized, you won’t heat up as much.
- With your skin getting so hot, your muscles receive less oxygenated blood, so your body ends up producing more to help compensate.
Disadvantages to running in the heat
There are, however, a few disadvantages to running in the sun, these mainly surround increased injuries and spontaneous illnesses – however, they can all be prevented and treated.
Caused by an electrolyte imbalance and can cause a high temperature, headaches, nausea, fatigue and profuse sweating.
Treat this with rest and cold packs directly placed on the head and neck. Restore electrolyte imbalance with sports drinks and food. Heat exhaustion can be prevented with staying well hydrated with electrolyte-packed fluids and keeping the pace down in high heat.
Caused by dehydration and electrolyte imbalance which can cause abdominal and large muscle cramping.
Prevent and treat running cramps with electrolyte based fluids.
When you sweat more, the increased friction can cause chafing, which is incredibly uncomfortable, and if untreated, can cause issues with your training. Make sure you have properly fitted apparel and use vaseline, anti-chafe balm or bandages over areas that are prone to chafing (underarms, inner thighs, bra lines, and nipples). Wearing moisture-wicking clothing that is tagless can be a huge help to prevent chafing.
Like chafing, With increased sweating, comes increased moisture (sweaty feet!). Wearing properly fitted footwear is the first step to blister prevention, hot feet expand, so if your shoes are too small (or too large), blisters can occur. Moisture-wicking socks or twin-skins can help reduce friction, as can using an anti-chafe balm, blister plasters or vaseline over blister-prone areas.
Ignore small blisters (around 5mm) since they are usually pain-free and common. However, spear the large ones with a sterile needle or pin and drain it, but do not remove the top layer, use an anti-bacterial cream instead and cover it up.
This one should be obvious but is way too common. Wear sunscreen people! For your health and comfort.
Take precautions, stay hydrated and have fun running in the sun!