Summer’s coming and you know what that means: Hotter weather, brighter sun, and better times for running! However, the heat can become too unbearable, so you need to learn the proper safety precautions to follow before your runs under the sun.
Of course, the priority here is to stay cool, but how do you do that, exactly? Read on as I show you the ultimate tips when running in the heat!
How to Go Running In the Heat Safely
Running in the heat is dangerous when you’re unprotected and don’t follow the right tips to stay cool and hydrated. However, we can’t stop you if you prefer running outside rather than the treadmill or waiting for the next colder season for your runs.
Avoid heatstrokes and discomfort when exposed to those UV rays by following these tips:
1. Wear the Right Clothing
Besides the right running shoes, you have to dress for the weather and intensity of your run! For running in the heat, you may need to wear less than you usually do if you were running during spring or fall seasons.
Select clothes that are moisture-wicking to prevent heat buildup under the clothes, which cause excessive heat and discomfort. Do NOT run in cotton clothing, as it absorbs sweat without it wicking away, so it won’t dry and will trap the heat to your body.
Wear lighter colors, which can reflect the sunlight and won’t store in heat. Also avoid wearing layers, sticking to just a simple shirt and shorts, as well as the best sunglasses and cap to protect your eyes and head.
2. Stay Hydrated and Get Some Minerals
Even if you weren’t running, you still need to stay hydrated when under the sun. So with intense exercise during hot weather, you have to drink even more water to make up for the sweat and water lost.
This is because as you run under the heat of the sun, your body will lower its body temperature, sweating more and having it lose more fluids and minerals. As a result, you can risk dehydration and lose your performance.
Be sure to pack a water jug with you and sip water regularly throughout your run, especially when running or over an hour. Or, you can take a short break and drink in public water fountains at the park.
Besides this, you should fill up on minerals to make up for the mineral loss, having bananas, whole-grain foods, apricots, and other mineral-rich food as a post-workout snack.
3. Run at the Right Time and Route
Schedule your runs during the least hot time of the day, checking the weather news or your app for the temperature prediction.
As much as possible, run during the early morning or evening when the sun isn’t directly pointing at you and when there’s less ozone around, which irritate the eyes and airways. Plus, these are the cooler times compared to the midday heat when the sun’s completely out!
You should also adjust your route, choosing better trails and surfaces to stay cool. Avoid asphalt and cement, which absorb heat and would transfer to YOU.
Go for trails and grassy surfaces in the park or the woods for more variety and fun to your runs. Opt for a trail that has more shade as well, with the parks and woods having more trees.
4. Protect Your Skin
Other than wearing the right clothes, you have to care for your body under the sun by protecting your skin! Cover all your skin that will be exposed to the sun by using waterproof sunscreen. This will stay effective even if you sweat from the weather and your runs.
Be sure to get a sunscreen with a good sun protection factor, which indicates how long your sunscreen extends the skin’s natural protection time. Start off with SPF50 and remember to rub it not just around your arms and legs, but all over your neck, ears, and back of your knees!
5. Don’t Overdo It
While it’s tempting to stick to your usual long-distance runs or sprints, you should take it slowly as your body adjusts to the hot weather. Start the summer workouts slowly as your body adjusts to the higher temperature and increase the intensity every few days.
If ever you experience signs of mild heatstrokes such as headaches, extreme thirst, dizziness, or muscle cramps, take a break. Stop and search for shade and drink water rather than fight and push on. If you don’t feel well even after the break, you may need to stop the run and walk back home to recover.
6. Do You Take Meds?
Medicines such as antihistamines or antidepressants may have a dehydrating effect. The same goes for alcohol and caffeine, so it’s best to avoid consuming them right before a run, as these medicines and drinks can have you pee more.
Not only will peeing more have you stop and impact your performance, but it will also increase the risk of dehydration. You can schedule your runs before the time you need to take your medicine or drinks.
Wrapping It Up
Whether it’s a race day or normal running session for training, you need to run carefully under the hot weather. While running in the heat is beneficial, it can cause you to slow down and risk injuries and sicknesses. Fortunately, our body can adapt to the temperature, you just have to follow the right tips and take it slow as you get used to summer runs.
Learn more about running in the heat and how you can keep cool doing your intense runs here in this video:
Hopefully, my tips when running in the heat will help you prepare for the hot weather ahead. So start following these tips for your future runs and stay safe!
Do you have any questions or would like to share your own tips for running in the heat? Share it in the comments section below, all your thoughts are much appreciated.