How are you spending your summer? We’re loving the sun, but these heatwaves have been causing some trouble, so we’ve been looking at keeping cool during our summer runs.
Summer always seemed to me like the perfect setting for a run; beautiful scenery, no chill biting at your ankles, no need for heavy running clothes…
But scenery aside, it’s easy to forget the perils of running during a heatwave. Here are a few mistakes I’ve made in the past, and how to avoid them.
Timing is everything: Choose your run time carefully. You might want to take in the sunshine on a midday run, but the coolest, and safest times to run in hot weather are the early morning and evening. When I run with a group, early mornings are an absolute no-go, so we push our training back to the evening. The ozone levels are at their lowest in the mornings, but an evening run will also save you from overheating.
Proper prep is paramount: Preparing for hot runs can be done in a few steps. First, choose an appropriate running outfit - light coloured clothes and head-gear to protect you from the sun are a good starting point. Cooling your core temperature the hour before you run is another preparation tip I learned a few years ago - staying in cool rooms and sipping chilled water can improve your hot-weather performance by up to 3 percent.
Keep calm, and carry on: High intensity runs may be tempting - I’ve made the mistake of thinking that the cool sensation you get when you power through in the heat is a good sign. In fact, a calmer run is a better bet. Try running at slower speeds and for shorter distances so that your body can acclimatise to the higher temperatures.
Hydrate! It may seem simple, but keeping hydrated before, during and after your summer run is vital. Try taking a bigger water bottle on your run, and taking a sip at regular intervals, rather than just when you’re thirsty. On my last run, it wasn’t until I was almost done that I realised I had barely made a dent in my water bottle, and made a mental note to correct this in the future.
Make sure that you’re not sacrificing your well-being to enjoy the sun, and prepare yourself properly for your run. Most importantly, enjoy your run!