Posted By Lisa Green on June 1, 2014
The summer heat can make running unpleasant and dangerous. However, if runners take necessary precautions that ensure safety, then summer running can be a pleasure. Proper hydration, protection from the sun, and choosing the right running routes are key factors that runners should consider when preparing to run. Cautiously running in the heat also makes training for races from 5ks to full marathons possible during the summer, as many races occur during this sweltering season. Running can be an enjoyable experience, no matter the time of year, if the necessary precautions are followed.
Runners should consider when to run and where to run during the summer, which will benefit them greatly. It is always best to run early morning or late evening. Proper gear such as hats are suggested, even in the shade. Properly ventilated shoes are a must. This podiatrist explains that lightweight running shoes that are breathable may not be supportive enough. This can cause heel pain, knee pain, and pain on the outside of the foot. People are exposed to dangerous UVA and UVB rays on cloudy days, so hats should always be worn as a precautionary measure. Waterproof sunblock should also be applied prior to a run, and if running for an extended period reapplying sunblock is also recommended. Running apparel is also available, which ensures runners stay cool and dry in the heat. These clothes are usually light colored and wick away moisture from the body. If runners are prone to chafe, then applying Vaseline or an anti-chaffing stick will keep this from occurring.
In the heat, take it slow. Runners follow a variety routines, from leisurely jogs to competitive races, it is essential that even seasoned runners slow their pace in high temperatures. It can be extremely dangerous if the body reaches temperatures that are too high. Keeping a pace that is slower than average will ensure heart rates and body temperatures don’t get too high. It is important to pay close attention to body signals when running, to prevent the body from overheating and dehydration.
Summer temperatures put runners at a higher risk for dehydration and other medical conditions because of the heat. Proper hydration is a significant factor for runners, especially during the summer months. It is important to begin drinking fluids before a run and to continue hydrating every twenty minutes during the run, which will prevent dehydration. Carrying water bottles or hydration belts, and choosing routes that offer water stations can also aid in staying hydrated. Consuming drinks that have electrolytes can also help to prevent cramping and dehydration.
Many runners enjoy the crisp weather during the fall and dread the weather during the summer, often giving in to treadmills. Treadmills may be a smart alternative if temperatures reach above 90 degrees. Pool running is another great choice if temperature levels are too high to run outdoors. Outdoor routes are usually first choice, but pool running and treadmills provide alternatives if running outside isn’t an option.
Running is a great way to exercise and release stress. The heat should not keep runners from logging those needed miles and running smart is the best way to achieve this goal. Proper hydration before and during a run, choosing the best locations, and proper gear are important factors that will ensure runners can log miles safely during summer months. It may take a little longer preparing to run during the summer, but this extra time and effort will pay off in the end.