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10 Summer Running Tips

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Summer training runs can be very enjoyable. However, it can also mean uncomfortable and stifling heat, sweaty clothing and an extra burden on your body as it attempts to work extra hard to cool down. There are a few simple tips to consider for runners who want to venture out into the sunshine. Read on for our 10 summer running tips.

10 Summer Running Tips

1. Stay hydrated
H2O is every runners friend. While it is important to drink lots of water any time you exercise, this is more so on sunny days when your body dehydrates quicker. It is important to increase your fluid intake on hotter days, before, during and after a run. Fluid does not only include water, but also sports drinks which replace lost electrolytes that you lose in sweat. It is best to drink fluids between 30 and 45 minutes before you commence your run and then a mouthful every 10 minutes, on average (this varies depending on intensity and heat). The key is to drink when you feel thirsty and your mouth is dry, but drink small sips rather than gulping lots of water. Drinking plenty of fluids after a run will help speed up your recovery process.

10-summer-running-tips

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2. Make the most of the long days
One of the main advantages of Summer running is the long days – light mornings and long, light evenings. This means extra time to fit in your training. A good tip is to get your run in early or late in the day to avoid the midday heat. Everybody is different, with some runners preferring a run first thing in the morning to help wake their body and mind and refresh them for the day ahead, while others prefer to use their run as a chance to unwind at the end of a long day.

3. Shelter from the sun
While summer running appeals to many runners, it is important to remember to mix up your route to include sheltered areas. Even if heat does not seem to affect you or hinder your running performance, running for long lengths of time in direct sunlight can cause dehydration, heat stroke, fatigue or sunburn. One way to combat this is to choose routes that go off-road, such as a forest or park, which include trees for shade. In addition off-road running is a good way to practise on different terrains. Trail compared to road can also be a good change for your bones and joints. Shade can cool down your core temperature, allowing you to run more efficiently, whether that means longer or faster.

4. Plan your route
Every runner should be prepared before setting off on a run. It is important to think about various eventualities such as injury, getting lost, emergency contacts etc. On a hot day it is imperative that a runner plans their route beforehand. Take a look at an app such as Map My Run and work out the distance you’d like to train. Try and find a route that allows a short cut should you tire more quickly than usual in the heat. Planning out your route will avoid running into difficulties and being stuck outdoors for longer than necessary trying to navigate. If you are testing out a new route, be sure to take out a fully charged mobile phone to be able to contact a friend or family member in case you get lost in the sunshine.

5. Dress light
Be sure to adjust your running wardrobe according to the weather. For hot Summer days this means light coloured and light material clothing. Specific running sportswear is designed for comfort in different weather conditions, with many using breathable materials (such as air vents under arm pits) and light fibres designed to avoid chafing.

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6. Alcohol no no
Alcohol dehydrates you and while sipping a beer on a sunny day can be very tempting, try to avoid it on training days (or the night before a morning training run). If you have scheduled a run, water or a sports drink is the best choice. If you are celebrating finishing a particular successful training run or an event/race, ensure that you take in your fluids post-run before starting on any alcohol. On any run, your body uses fluids and can become dehydrated quickly, but on a hot day, this process speeds up. This can mean that drinking alcohol can affect you a lot quicker than on a normal day.

7. Slow it down
Be sensible in the sunshine. The heat affects runners and while you may want to push and challenge yourself, be aware that the sun and heat can be having a physical effect on your performance. Don’t be afraid to switch your training plans around to suit the weather (i.e. avoid midday sun), slow down if you feel too hot and try and enjoy the run by soaking in the Summer atmosphere which can be one of the most beautiful running settings.

8. Wear sunscreen
UVA and UVB protection is important whenever you head out into the sunshine and during a run is no exception. A long training run or race can mean being outdoors for a number of hours. Many sunscreen bottles advise you to top up on sunscreen every 20 minutes. Try to carry a small amount with you if possible for top-ups and ensure that it is a sports sunscreen (i.e. water resistant and long-lasting).

9. Let your feet breathe
Loose fitting and light coloured clothing is a must for Summer running, but many runners don’t consider their footwear. Choose your running socks and trainers carefully. Summer running socks are made of synthetic fibres and breathable, they help reduce sweat which in turn reduces the chance of blisters, as well as makes running more comfortable and cooler. The same goes for trainers. Many running shoes come with breathable sections or vents, helping your feet ‘breathe’ on those hotter days and help bring your core body temperature down as a result.

10. Acclimatize
While you might be somewhat of a Sun God or Goddess and enjoy long day’s at the beach sunbathing, running is a different matter. Even if you feel you will be suited to running in the sunshine and heat, it is important to ‘test’ out your body by acclimatizing to the heat and how it affects you. Do this by starting out on a small run and building the miles up slowly. If you are new to running or unfit, it is important not to do too much too soon and suffer from fatigue or even heat stroke. Fitter or experienced runners (people with higher VO2 Max levels) are usually more tolerant to heat and higher temperatures, but it is still important to build up your running miles slowly during the summer and to listen to your body.

Running in the sunshine can be a great experience but be aware of your health! The tips above will help get your started if you are planning on heading out on a hot day for a run.