We've been waiting all winter and what seems like forever to get some warm weather to train in. Then summer is finally here and we wish it was cooler again. Although we love the sun, extra hours of daylight and everything else that comes with it, the warmer weather brings new challenges to our running.
Here are my top tips for running this summer.
BEAT THE HEAT
Ideally avoid running in the heat by running early in the morning, when it cools down in the evening or hitting the treadmill in an air conditioned gym.
BE AWARE OF THE DANGER SIGNS
What are the signs that your body is not coping with the heat? Shivers, dizziness, nausea, cramps or the lack of sweating are signs that your core temperature is getting to high. If this happens you need to take action to cool down. If you are feeling hot during your run, cool yourself down by putting water on the back of your neck. Finish your run with a swim, great idea if you are running at the beach or maybe you could run to the pool or event just under a bubble tap or water park. If the symptoms are significant seek medical attention as soon as possible.
HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE
Make sure you hydrate before, during and after you run. Run somewhere that you can gain access to water during your run or carry water with you if you can. If you are running for more than 60 minutes you may want to consider including electrolyte drinks to replenish the salts your body loses through sweating.
RUN TO SUIT THE CONDITIONS
Don’t expect to be running your fastest times or longest distances when running in the heat. Your body is putting energy into cooling and the heat can make you feel lethargic. Slow down and keep it short. Save the quick and long runs for when it’s cooler. It takes time for your body to adapt to different running conditions so be patient and don’t expect it not to affect your training.
SLIP SLOP SLAP
Dress appropriately for the warmer temperatures, make sure you wear a hat and most importantly wear plenty of sunscreen!
HEAD TO WATER
Run near the water like a lake, ocean or creek as any breeze will be cooler coming off the water.
SEEK THE SHADE
Run on a shaded trail. Although you may find that the trees will block any possible breeze you may get.
FREEZE YOUR DRINK
This is a little tip that I learnt from cycling. Freeze your drink overnight. As you run it will gradually melt and you will be able to enjoy a lovely refreshingly cold drink rather than warm water.
CALL IT A DAY
Most importantly play it smart and be safe. Sometimes you just need to make the decision not to run. It is not worth risking heatstroke or possible injury from running with poor form due to lethargy from running in the heat. Call it quits and run another day, head to the gym or have a swim instead. As much as we love to run there are other cardio activities that can give you the same endurance training benefits as running.
Keep these things in mind when planning your summer runs and have a great run!