Summer running tips

Summer Running Tips

With Memorial Day around the corner, today’s Run Tips Tuesday newsletter is dedicated to helping you beat the heat.

11 Running tips for the heat

Running in heat and humidity can be a sweat-fest! Here are 11 tips for running in heat and humidity to help keep you safe and active.

  1. Allow time to adjust to the heat: If you are in a climate that changes from cold to hot, give yourself up to two weeks to adjust to running in the heat. During the adjustment, do easy base runs at a relaxed pace while focusing more on your effort than your times and speed.

  2. Check humidity: If humidity is high, it prevents sweat from evaporating on the skin, which can quickly lead to overheating of your brain and organs. When humidity is above 40%, it makes the heat feel more intense and impedes the body’s ability to cool itself. If you do run in humid weather, stay in the shade and bring plenty of water with electrolytes.

  3. Avoid intense workouts on hot days: It is a myth that only beginning runners are affected by the heat. In fact, going faster generates more heat, so elite athletes are especially at risk of being affected by the heat. Avoid speed workouts and fast-paced runs on hot days. Save the speed workouts and long runs for cooler days or the treadmill.

  4. Prehydrate: Hydrate before your run by drinking 16 ounces (2 cups) of water two hours before your run. And 15 minutes before your run, drink another 6 to 8 ounces (about a cup) of water.

  5. Hydrate on the run: Everyone’s sweat rates vary, as does the amount of heat you are dealing with, so listen to your body and drink when you’re thirsty. A good basic hydration guideline for running in the heat is to drink a minimum of 4 to 6 ounces every 20 minutes.

  6. Avoid peak heat hours: Avoid running at peak heat times, which are between 10 am to 2 pm. Run in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest times.

  7. Adjust your training schedule: Runners can get caught up in numbers and stats, but sometimes while running in heat and humidity, it is wise to adjust your training program. This can mean cutting miles from long runs, rescheduling speed workouts, or doing shorter runs in general.

  8. Adjust your route: If you are running in the heat, sometimes you will need to cut your route to make it shorter, in a shadier place, or to ensure that it passes a water stop.

  9. Be flexible: Be willing to adjust your workout program for the heat. Slower times during the summer months are normal due to the heat so don’t get frustrated. For every 5°F rise in temperature above 60°F, your running pace can slow by as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile.

  10. Know the signs of heat illness: Signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include heavy sweating, cold, pale, and clammy skin, a fast, weak pulse, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headaches, and fainting. If you experience any of these symptoms, move to a cool, dry place, drink water or a sports drink, and put cool, wet cloths on your body or take a cool bath. Call 911 for immediate assistance if you or someone you’re with has a heat stroke.

  11. Exercise indoors: Run on the treadmill, lift weights, go to the gym, or do a HIIT workout at home to stay protected from the most intense heat and humidity.

5 tips to make the most of summer running

  1. Choose the time of day wisely: It’s no secret that the afternoon is the hottest part of the day in the summer, so opt for morning or evening runs to avoid the midday heat. Don’t shun the treadmill either.

  2. Embrace a slower pace: It’s natural that your speed will slow down with the rising temperatures and added humidity. Don’t fret—it won’t halt your progress. Running under strenuous conditions like higher temperatures will help you build stamina no matter your speed.

  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Hydration is always important, but it’s even more crucial as the temperatures increase. For proper hydration and to avoid muscle fatigue and cramps, supplement your water with an electrolyte packet or mix in a sports drink for recovery. Bonus tip: Carry a water bottle, energy gels, or salt tablets with you on your run to stay hydrated on the go. You can also look for routes that have water fountains along the way.

  4. Dress the part: Wear breathable, moisture-wicking clothing, and stick to light colors to stay cool. Don’t forget to dress your skin too by wearing SPF.

  5. Change your route: If you typically follow an asphalt or pavement path, consider switching it up in the summer. A shaded trail or park path will help keep you cool in the warmer temperature since asphalt and pavement absorb more of your heat and the sun’s rays.

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If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

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