First, let me be clear: I am not complaining about the heat. No…way, not me and not after the winter we had.
But, the blazing hot sun and the hazy, humid conditions call for some caution this time of year. Here are 10 tips for sizzling hot summer runs:
1. Stay hydrated. I know this one might go without saying, but…it doesn’t really. Drink more water in summer. Not just when you run, but all the time. Period.
2. Carry water or plot a course that allows you to get a drink. Dehydration is real and it’s dangerous. If you feel shaky on a run or stop sweating, you’re in real trouble. I’ve drank out of creeks in desperation — don’t be a Heather.
3. Use a hat & sunglasses to keep sunscreen out of eyes. Wear a hat and sunglasses. If you do this, you can skip putting sunscreen anywhere above the eyes where it will, inevitably, drip into your eyes and blind you.
4. Ban cotton. You can get away with running in cotton in winter, but in the heat of summer, cotton is shear misery. It holds in all the sweat and gets heavy and stank. And, it’s the leading cause of chaffing issues. Invest in some CoolMax running gear. It’s really come down in price — I’ve seen CoolMax shirts at Walmart and K-mart for $10.
5. Carry a frozen washcloth. Laugh, but this really works. Wet a washcloth, freeze it (or put it in the fridge) and carry it with you on your run. For me, carrying something cold keeps my whole body cool. Once the washcloth warms up, you can use it as a sweat rag. Gross? Whatever…we’re runners…our gross tolerance is sky high.
6. Become an early bird. Morning is the coolest time to run in summer. It’s easy to get up an hour early in summer because the birds are singing and the sun is coming up as early at 5:30 a.m.
7. Head for the shade. Have a route that’s mostly shade for those days you can’t avoid running in the sun. Consider it a challenge to tweak the course to take advantage of every leafy tree around your place.
8. Hit the trails. It’s always cooler in the woods. Find some trails, throw on some old shoes, coat yourself in bug spray and run a path less traveled.
9. Start near the water. Start your run at a pool or at the lake. Why? Because when you’re done running, you can jump in and cool of. I finish most of my summer runs with an all-clothes-on leap into our backyard pool.
10. Set the bar low. Lower your expectations on super-hot days. Knock of a few miles, slow your pace and don’t expect to set any records on record-breaking hot days.