By: Angela Joy
All year long we count down the days till the sun is shining, the ocean water is glistening and the warm sand sits beneath our toes – alas summer has arrived!
When you live along the Shore, you can’t help but love summer. When you are a runner this love has a completely new meaning.
Warm weather means more daylight which equates to more running – and who doesn’t love more running?
While the warm weather and increased daylight can be fantastic the summer season does have the potential to create some critical situations such as; heat exhaustion, heat stroke, severe dehydration, sun burn, and severe body fatigue.
In an effort to stay cool and healthy this summer while running, try following the following tips.
- Stay Properly Hydrated
Hydration is critical when running during the summer months.
Dehydration can lead to difficulty breathing which can lead to injury, falling faint, or even heat stroke.
When the body is lacking hydration the amount of blood volume decreases causing the heart to pump harder which will impact performance.
As a result it is best to drink water before a run, during a run and after the run.
Be conscious of your hydration level.
Try checking the color of your urine to determine how hydrated your body is.
The darker the color the lower the level of hydration.
The lighter the color the greater the level of hydration.
- Warm Up and Warm Down
Before you begin your workout or next race be sure to start with a warm up.
I know this may sound counterproductive especially if temperature is warm and your body already feels warm, however the warm up is a very important part of running.
The warm up allows the body to adapt to the movement that you are preparing for.
Blood is pooled into the legs and arms away from the organs in order to allow you to run.
The warm up also allows the body time to acclimate to the current temperature.
If you spent the morning indoors with the air conditioning on your body will not be prepared to jump outside in the heat and start running.
The warm down, or cool down, is also important.
If it is very hot outside and you have just completed a workout you it is important to slow down your pace for another mile or so, allowing the body to cool down, the heart rate to decrease and
- Wear Sun Screen
While running outdoors during the summertime it is important to apply sunscreen to skin surface areas that will be exposed on the run.
Sun burns and skin cancers are not fun, therefore preventative measures such as applying sunscreen early and consistently are essential.
In an article published in Running Times in May 2015 San Diego runner and board certified dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio stated that the best sunscreen to apply is the on “you’ve got.”
Benabio suggests applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 while consistently re-applying.
When applying sunscreen make sure to cover all of your bases; face, lips, head, ears, chest, arms and legs.
- Wear the Proper Attire
While I can suggest to you specific clothes to wear in the heat it is equally important to recognize clothes not to wear in the heat.
Clothes that are black, made of cotton, are too big, and stick to the body should not be worn when running in the heat.
Items that should be worn include dri-fit and sunlight reflective clothing, sleeves to block the sun, a hat or visor and sunglasses.
Each item will assist in keeping your skin health, sunburn free and the body cool.
- Run at the Right Time of Day
In an effort to avoid the high temperatures or high humidity try running early in morning before sunrise or late at night just before sunset, or even after if possible.
Avoid running in the middle of the day when the temperatures are at their high and the sun is strongest.
Both running early and late in the day may seem inconvenient, however both can be very relaxing and enjoyable.
Very few people are awake or out on the road at these times plus you might get a chance to see a sunset or sunrise.
- Run in Shaded Areas
Try running in a new location.
Seek out areas close by a body of water, surrounded by trees or in a cool area.
Running on asphalt, in the middle of the day, without any trees or a breeze can be disastrous.
No matter how well you have prepared for the run you will feel drained and can potentially harm the body.
Seek out shaded areas and enjoy the run without the discomfort.
- Listen to your Body!
Most importantly listen to your body.
Running is the heat can have a dramatically negative impact on the body.
If the proper precautions are not taken you may find yourself feeling nauseous, sluggish, tired, ill and/or dizzy.
Listen to your body. If it feels too hot to run – don’t.
If you feel tired and think you should stop, don’t test yourself – not on a hot day.
Recognize and feeling of concern and address it as soon as possible.
When dealing with heat, err on the side of caution.
Enjoy the sun and the surf this summer. Stay cool and keep running!
Do you like to run in the summer? Share with me some of your favorite summer running tips! I would love to hear from you.
❤ Wishing you joy, blessings and love,