10 Tips to tackle the summer’s heat as a runner
Remain cool and crush the summer’s heat with these ten top tips.
Summer is many people’s favourite time of year, enjoying time in the sun, getting that much-needed tan, and going for the occasional run in the hotter weather. However, sometimes (even in the UK) running in the heat can be difficult, and occasionally, it can also be dangerous, too.
So, what are you supposed to do? How do you stay cool, have fun, and protect yourself from the heat we’ve been waiting for all year? That’s what this article will answer (and more), providing you with ten tips to help you tackle summer’s heat, whether you’re running one mile or ten miles, here are a few things you can do to keep your cool.
1. Drink water before, during, and after your run
To prevent dehydration, it is essential to drink before, during, and after your run. This is especially true if your run is any longer than the thirty-minute mark. As the temperature increases, our bodies began to sweat to help cool us down. However, if this water is not replaced the blood becomes thicker, slowing down the delivery of oxygen to our muscles. Consequently, this reduces performance – it’s why you may feel like you’ve hit a wall when running on a hot day.
So, remain hydrated and bring a water bottle with you on your run, especially if you plan on running any longer than thirty minutes.
2. Freeze water bottles
While we’re on the topic of remaining hydrated, you may choose to freeze water bottles. Many runners swear by this trick, placing a couple of water bottles in the freezer overnight and drinking these during or after their morning run. Of course, you can freeze these any time of day – but there’s nothing quite like a bottle of cold water following a long-run or interval session to start the day.
Tip: you can also freeze more rigid water bottles and use these as a massage tool, rolling your feet whether that’s your plantar fascia or any other areas which commonly cause you pain.
3. Run early in the morning
During the hotter months, it’s often much cooler in the mornings. Therefore, you should take advantage of this if possible. Not only do you get to avoid the peak heat by running in the morning, but you also get your run out of the way early, starting your day on the right track (see what we did there…) and freeing up more time during the evening.
Tip: if you struggle to wake up early, set out your running gear ahead of time, making the process a whole lot easier.
4. Wear a hat and maybe a pair of sunglasses
Wearing a cap helps to keep the sun out of your eyes, allowing you to see where you’re going. Aside from obvious fashion benefits too, a hat also ensures you remain cool and protected.
If you’re feeling a little extra you can also wear a pair of sunglasses. Not only may you be mistaken for a celebrity, but you’ll further keep the sun out of your eyes while also protecting yourself from those nasty rays.
5. Don’t be afraid to take breaks
When running in the heat, you should always listen to your body. Whether you’re running for ten minutes or two hours, if you feel like taking a break, don’t be afraid to do so. Take shelter from the heat in a local shop, dip your feet in the sea, or stop off for a quick bottle of water.
Failure to listen to your body and absorbing too much sun may lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke can be very serious, so always pay attention to your body and take extra precautions where possible.
6. Dress appropriately for the hotter weather
Dressing for the weather is by far one of the best and easiest ways to stay cool during the hot summer months. Ditch the running tights, leggings, long-sleeved tops, and woolly hats, and opt for a tank top, pair of shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, or sports bra.
Tip: Wear lighter colours – these will absorb less heat and will help keep you cool.
7. Slow down the pace
Slowing down the pace in summer will prevent your body temperature from rising as quickly. This is essential to avoid overheating and a decreased running performance. Also, it is often more difficult to run faster when running in the heat, so you’re doing a body a favour.
Besides, slowing down once in a while is actually good for your body and your training, enabling various aerobic development which will help you become a better and more efficient runner.
Tip: Run with a friend, you’ll be more inclined to chat and forget you’re running slow!
8. Sometimes it’s best to head indoors
No matter your motivation, sometimes it’s just too hot to head outside and stomp the pavements. In these instances, we recommend running on the treadmill if possible. Play your favourite music, turn on the air con on, and let the miles fly.
Tip: You can test the heat by going for a short walk before planning to run
9. Shorten your warm-up if possible
During the summer, our muscles warm up much quicker than in the colder months. Also, being exposed to heat for too long can have fairly severe consequences. Therefore, if possible, you should shorten your warm-up, especially if your warm-up usually consists of fifteen or more minutes.
You can adjust your warm-up as you see fit and to the temperature, making sure you don’t increase your risk of injury equally as much as you don’t suffer from the intense heat.
10. Always wear sun cream!
Without sounding like your mother, you should always be wearing sun cream when running in the summer. While you may not mind getting burnt, it could lead to serious skin conditions, including skin cancer later down the line. So, take the thirty seconds before your run and apply some sun cream, you won’t regret it!