It’s June 1! (The best month of the year…mine and Brandon’s birthday month! :)). June also signals the arrival of summer. We have a whole summer of hot runs ahead of us. My last post was about gear for warm weather running and today’s post is about survival strategies to deal with the heat.
The key to successful warm weather running is preparation and attitude. It can be easy to give up on running during the summer in the same way that it’s tempting to bail on cold weather runs due to temperature and conditions but with the proper gear, mindset and strategies you can successfully run through the summer.
The most attractive running photo EVER. Here are my tips for enjoying summer runs.
Become an early morning runner.
This one seems like a no brainer but I’ve been known to attempt running in the heat of a 100 degree day and that’s just no fun. Beat the heat by embracing early morning runs. This is especially critical for those of us who are trying to get long runs in. The earlier you can get out on the road, the better. If you’re not typically an early morning exerciser, it can be a bit of a challenge to transition to morning runs but it just takes time for your body to adjust to a new schedule. Check out my post with tips on how to work out in the morning.
Another no-brainer but I just want to reiterate that when temperatures are in the 80s and above, I won’t run for more than 30 minutes without wearing a hydration belt. It’s also important to hydrate before and after your runs and to replace electrolytes when you are sweating heavily. Hydration is a serious must for warm weather running. I ran an eight miler in afternoon heat a couple of summers ago and didn’t hydrate properly. I ended up nauseous, shaky and with a horrible headache for the rest of the day and it was not fun.
One trick to see if you’re hydrating properly is to weigh yourself before and after a run. If the number on the scale goes down after your run, you need to up your fluid intake. You’re aiming for your weight to stay the same.
Protect you skin.
I apply sunblock to my face every single day. I am not so good at remembering to apply it to my whole body when I’m heading out for a run. Slather on sunblock formulated for sports before running to protect your skin from the strong summer sun and also to avoid the attractive shorts tan lines. 😉
It’s hard to say how many random front yards I have run through in order to cool off in sprinklers. I have no shame! Friend and fellow runner Jen shared a story yesterday of how she was so determined to do a 16-mile long run outside last summer that she ran loops around her neighborhood and stopped every few miles to jump in a cold shower. Have access to a pool? Jump in as soon as you finish! I planned some of my runs to end at the Y last summer so I could jump in the pool after. Do whatcha gotta do!
Be positive and have fun.
Get your game face on and know that running through diverse conditions is just one more thing that makes runners tough and awesome. Mix up your normal running routes and plan new routes on shady streets. Maybe take your runs off-road and check out trails that offer tree cover and a break from heat of city streets and exhaust from cars.
If all else fails, utilize the treadmill.
I really, really dislike the treadmill but even I have to cry uncle sometimes when it’s just too hot, cold or rainy. When I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon last summer, I would run as many miles outside as I could stand before moving to the treadmill. Coming in to the air conditioned gym definitely gave me the boost I needed to finish my long runs strong.
Good luck and have fun out there! What are your long run survival strategies? I know I’m not the only sprinkler dasher! 😉