Summer is here and if you’re looking to race this fall, you’re likely training through some heat, humidity and sunlight. Summer running is serious business, especially for those looking to rock marathons or hit a PR early in the fall. Training hard when it’s hot can have benefits when things cool back down but it can also be dangerous. Here are five ways to stay safe while still getting a good session in during hot summer workouts.
Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated doesn’t mean just drinking water. In fact, too much plain old water can become a problem sooner than you think. That’s because when we sweat we lose plenty of salt, too. Having a sports drink, salt tab or other form of electrolyte with you for any outdoor workout is a must. Put water bottles out along your route or choose one with accessible fountains, sinks or friends who’ll cheer you on.
Slow down. Your body is dealing with enough when it’s hot out. Adding the stress of a hard track workout doesn’t help. Don’t worry about your goal pace or how long it takes you to get there. Run by effort when it’s warm and give your body time to adjust to the season change over a few weeks. Then you’re clear to step up the intensity for short times as long as you feel up to it.
Dress lightly. Have a sports bra you love but kept covered up all winter? Show it off! Wear as little clothing as you can get away with. If you are going to wear an entire outfit, go for light colors and sweat wicking fabrics. Try to remember the Body Glide, too. A hat or visor along with sunglasses is always recommended and a good layer of sunblock put on 10 minutes before you head out can’t do anything but help.
Change your schedule. It’s cooler in the morning and evening than it is at noon or 3pm. Try to get your run in when there’s plenty of shade as the sun comes up or goes down. Check out different routes at different times of day to see where you’re offered the most coverage. You might even want to hit the trails. If you’re schedule just can’t adjust, don’t be afraid to stay inside and tackle a treadmill workout.
Know the signs. Pay attention to what your body tells you. No workout is worth the risk of serious hurting yourself. Lightheadedness, dizziness, cramping and not sweating anymore are all possible signs of a heat related injury. Especially on low humidity, breezy days, summer running can sneak up on you and it’s even more important to be aware of what’s going on inside your body.
How do you deal with summer running? Do you like it or hate it?