Summer running, happened so fast…
Ran the bridges, in 100 degree heat…
Was so hot, was so sweaty, even my feet…
Gotta run, no matter what, but UGH – oh that summer heat…
………..Okay, yeah. That was lame. But it doesn’t make it any less true. Running in the heat of summer is a challenge, one many runners refuse to take for fear of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and all around weariness. I get it, I was one of those runners. But as long as you prepare yourself for what you know is going to be a challenge, you can make summer running part of your routine and master it.
And surprise: It’s mostly all common sense.STAY HYDRATED: It’s a huge big blinking sign that says “DUH” but you’d be amazed at how many people fall victim to dehydration and heat exhaustion because they wait until they FEEL thirsty before they drink something. Here’s the thing: if you FEEL thirsty, you are already dehydrated. You shouldn’t go outside to run in high heat if you haven’t had enough to drink. Checking the color of your urine is a great start. If it’s light yellow to clear, you are good to go. Anything darker, don’t go run yet. And make sure you are drinking water through the day so to keep hydrated.
HOW ARE YOU DRESSED? While we all have our favorite outfits to run in, it’s best to find the ones that are light colored and dry wicking. Pulling the moisture from your body helps cool it. If you are confident enough, run without a shirt, and with the smallest shorts you can wear. I run in Bermuda style shorts, and in the summer, I’ll do that and a sports bra and call it done (Warning: Fat Girl Running) but some people are not that comfortable. Grab a tank top or a race shirt and make sure it’s light in color. The lighter the color, the less heat it absorbs. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it.
And when you are running, make sure your route has some water stops in it. My bridges run has two water fountains in it that I hit up every time I go. I also carry an iFitness flask with me filled with cold water, and keep my Polar Bottle stashed somewhere I can get to it on my route with ice water. Sure, it takes a little prior planning, but it’s going to keep me safe in the summer heat.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Remember hearing the rules about how you should stay out of the sun between 10 am and 2 pm to prevent burns? Well it works here too. If you are prone to suffering in the heat, going out and running in it during the hottest part of the day is not smart. Stick to early mornings (before the sun comes up) and late evenings. I like to run in the evenings, so I always go after work at about 7pm. When I do run in the mornings, I tend to go at about 5:30am, so that I’m done by the time the sun is fully risen. It’s smart being aware of the heat out there.
TAKE IT SLOW: The only people I know who are able to run full out, at top speed, in this heat are elite runners. Oh, and people like Dreamboat who thrive in the high temps and high humidity. If you are like me, however, and don’t do well in constant heat, then you could be hurting yourself trying to do your usual pace. Don’t hesitate to take your pace a little slower. My goal is to get to a constant 10 minute pace for the Full, but let’s be real. In 96 degree weather, with 60% humidity, and a feels like temp of 110 degrees…I’m NOT running anything faster than say a 12 minute pace. Don’t hesitate to drop your pace a little bit if you don’t feel very confident. It’s summer running, and it’s okay.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY: I did the whole emergency tent with 3 IV bags of fluids and a million ice cold towels trying to drop my body temp from 108 degrees after a race. It’s not fun, and it’s not safe. Since getting off the Topamax, I’ve still had issues with overheating. It’s a horrible feeling, and it leaves you feeling miserable. So listen to your body. Know what you can do and can’t do. If you feel light headed, dizzy, nauseous, or clammy…stop what you are doing and seek shade immediately. And remember: if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Seek medical attention. Run with a friend if you think it could happen to you. You can do this, but listen to what your body tells you.
GEAR UP: Go to the Polar Bottle website and get yourself one of their water bottles. I’m already planning on getting two small ones for my running. Head over to iFitness and see about grabbing some of their hip flasks that can go on your belts. I’m going to be purchasing a few more for my marathon training since I start in August, only the peek of hot summer here in NoFla. Visors, hats, or sunglasses. Get them. Get the gear you need to make sure you are prepared for the heat. Staying prepared is what will get you through a successful summer of running outside.
AND WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN!
TELL ME: A lot of you posted on my Facebook page about how insane I am for running in the heat. I asked there, and I’m asking here. What is your temperature cut off for running outside? Do you like running on the treadmill or do you just stop running for summer? What do you do instead? 🙂