The weather invites new opportunities to enjoy a casual summer run. To break a sweat and get in shape, or enjoy a nice jog in a local park or around your neighborhood may be nice, but there is just one thing that you have to conquer: the heat! With ninety degree temperatures and heat advisories becoming a standard fixture across the country, as a runner you need to be more prepared for summer weather.
Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are dangerous conditions that can occur quickly and take a runner by surprise. Running teaches us to adapt and prepare for challenges. Here's a couple of tips from Surefoot to help you keep logging the miles and finish races in the heat this summer:
It is normal to experience some dehydration during exercise. However, to cool off and keep your balance, you should drink more water throughout the day. This includes rest days. If you are running for more than 30 minutes, be sure to bring water with you or a sports drink to replace the fluids lost through exercise. This is essential because our bodies lose salt through sweat and replacing it with water only can lead to overhydrating because water does not replace the salts. Sport drinks containing electrolytes can easily meet this need.
Plan the Route
If you are running solo, make sure you run in open areas or let someone know where you are headed. Carrying a phone and identification in case of an emergency is also pretty handy.
Change Your Routine
Sometimes change is good, so for summer months, try something new by changing your routine. If you are an early morning runner, try running in the afternoon when the noon heat wave passes. For those who run in the afternoon, you can also reach a slightly cooler temperature at dawn. You may find less runners during this time as well, which makes it easier to map your route. Also, be sure to take precautions from the sun by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or 30.
When the temperature rises, it is actually more beneficial to get your body acclimated to the summer weather and the new outdoor temperature. Try to start at slower paces for shorter distances for the first few weeks. After that, you can pick up the pace and train for speed and distance.
Running on a treadmill in your home or at the gym provides good benefits that are similar to running outdoors. This is also a good substitute for a regular run when the temperatures are nearing 100 degrees. Running indoors is also a safer alternative if you are prone to dehydration and heat exhaustion.