Summer Running (it happened so fast)
Apologies but I just have that old Grease song buzzing round my head.
Well in Australia we are well into Summer and the temperature has soared. I personally have found it hard going unless its completed very early.
Running in hot weather comes with extra burdens that can affect your performance. It is harder to keep your body cool when everything else is burning up and this will impact on how you perform and the strain that your body is put under. Conditions can affect how you feel, your performance and can make it an extra effort for your body to keep cool. You need to watch out for heat exhaustion, sun stroke and dehydration. And sunburn. Here are my tips on how best to do this.
Avoid the hottest times of the day
This may sound basic but timing any outdoor exercise to avoid the heat of the day is basic common sense. You come off the beach at midday so why would you run in it? Running in the early morning or after dark are usually the coolest times of the day. However there can still be hot days when the temperature doesn’t drop until very late so always watch out for these.
A good habit to get into is to watch the forecast regularly, keeping an eye out for those odd cooler days and building this into your routine. Take those gifts where you can find them. In Summer they don’t come along too often.
Keep on top of your hydration
Before heading out for a run, make sure you are properly hydrated. Check your urine and take on fluids.
I have attached the link to my earlier article on this subject to avoid repeating.
Look to take on fluids while you exercise. Always try to leave the house with adequate supplies and plan your route to include water stops. Try to plan your running route so there are drinking fountains and bubblers throughout your run. If there are not, pick a route that passes shops, filling stations etc so that you can make an emergency stop if you need to buy some fluid.
After exercise ensure you replace the fluids that you have lost.
Wear the right clothing
Well I run a sportswear company, you would expect me to say that wouldn’t you. It is however very true. Choose your garments correctly.
Wearing black is inadvisable as it heats up too quickly. Great for the gym when wanting to hide problem areas but only to be worn when you are also out of the sun. In the sun stick to lighter colours to reflect the heat. When running in the heat, always dress in light coloured, loose fitted clothing.
Choose the material of the garment carefully based on how long you are likely to run for and, apologies for this, and also based on how much you sweat. Try and be honest about this. Cotton feels lovely on the skin and allows the body to breath, but it will absorb sweat. Good for shorter distances but perhaps to be avoided if you are going on longer runs.
Polyester is a better option for longer excursions as it is sweat wicking. Look to wear sleeveless if you want to keep the body cooler longer. Racer back vests also assist with keeping you cool, however factor in how much flesh you will be exposing to the sun. It is strong this time of year and you don’t want to burn.
I always run with a cap. Keep it loose fitting to release the heat. I have read both the arguments for and against visors but personally I am not a fan. A comfortable fitting cap won’t store heat and will protect the scalp from the sun. I also like soaking mine in water and have even been known to chill it in the fridge before hand. Don’t get carried away though, you don’t want brain freeze. Vented panels on a cap assist with keeping cool.
I live in Queensland so wearing sunscreen is second nature, but it may not be to some. Wear sunscreen and make sure you properly cover exposed areas. Take a small tube with you if you are going out longer and if needs be, reapply. A bad burn is like bad chaffing. It could stop you training for days.
Don’t run against yourself
World records and personal bests are not set in extreme temperatures, either hot or cold. You will find it harder running in the heat so try not be obsessed with going further or faster. If you are running in heat it is because you enjoy running. Enjoy the fact you are out and don’t risk overdoing it.
I hope these tips help.