It’s a slow process to regain your running, I suppose…made only slower by the start of Summer Running. Summer Running – as you may know – is full of hot weather, high humidity and long slooooow running. People who can run fast in the summer are my heroes, because between the high temps and the high humidity, I want to treadmill run.
You read that right. I WANT to treadmill run.
But if you are stubborn and want to make the attempt to run in the summer sun, here are some tips you can use to make sure that the run is a success.
1. Don’t fret about your time: It’s hot out. It’s humid. You are running outside and no matter how many pieces of clothing you take off, you are still hot. Welcome to summer running. If you are anything like me, heavier weight or not, the heat and humidity is your enemy. Don’t fret if you end up slowing down in order to keep your body from overheating. Safety should be your first priority, and getting overheated can be deadly and dangerous. If you want to run all summer, like I want to, do a test run of a few miles and see how you feel. If you feel awful, cut back on the mileage. My summer miles will not exceed 6 miles in a day until I have to up it for half/marathon training.
2. Water and Gatorade are your best friends: Staying hydrated on a run is obvious. It doubles in the summer. One time, for laughs, I weighed myself before a 5 mile run and again after before I drank anything and got in the shower. The weight difference was 7 lbs. 7 lbs!! That’s significant for only one hour of running outside in the heat. So what I do when I run outside is I stash half frozen bottles of water and Gatorade, filled with the rest of the water or Gatorade, in the front of my complex. I put them in a Publix bag and stash them behind the big sign that is at the entrance to Summer Key. I include an extra towel, some fuel, and paper towels. I also invested in a small flask to go on my running belt (READ: Kat gave me one of hers since I didn’t have one and needed one.) If it’s a longer run, I drive the route first and stash the water bottles along the way. It takes extra time, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If your route has water fountains along the way, stop at each one. REMEMBER: If you FEEL thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
3. The less clothing, the better. So, it’s hot out and wearing a lot of clothing can make your body temp rise quickly. When I run in the summer, I don’t care what others think: I run in my bermuda running shorts and my sports bra – fat girl and all. Why? Because I’d rather be slightly cooler than overheated. Plus, it’s really hard to whip off your shirt or tank top when you have earbuds in at the same time. If you feel it is necessary to cover up when you run, the lighter the color – the better. White, cream, pastels… light colors actually reflect the light, where dark colors absorb it. I may wear black shorts when I run, but I wear bright, fun colored sports bras so I can stay cool up top.
4. Fuel smarter: If you are the kind of person who gets an upset stomach while using gels to run, changing it up to something else might be a smart idea for summer running. One of the signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion is an upset stomach, and you are going to want to know the difference between that and runner’s gut from the fuel you were taking. The Gatorade chews are pretty awesome, as are the Honey Stinger cookies. I’ve also read that using normal gummy bears is a great option as well. This is also a chance for you to test out some other options.
5. Listen to your body: The ultimate advice for summer running I can offer is this: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you feel like you are doing strong, then keep going. If you feel like you are ready to collapse, then stop. Running naturally makes the body overheat, and when you throw in the high temperatures of running, it could become worse. Learn what you are capable of: If you are like Dreamboat, running in the dead of summer at noon is a pleasure cruise, whereas for me it’s a nightmare in Hell, and are demanding Mother Nature to bring back those solid 60s, at least in the morning so you can run in cooler temps.
A lot of people take the summer off because of how hot it will get but if you are really focused and pay attention to what you are doing, you can make summer running a solid part of your plan. And if you are like me, knowing you want to use summer running as a jump start to serious weight loss and epic training coming in the early Fall, it has the potential to make everything easier when the temps start to fall again.
Stay safe out there, runners!