Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Summer Running Guide Part 1

It's getting hot out there, so take off all your clothes. No, wait, don't do that. I have some better, more acceptable ways to handle the heat. Though this time of year, especially in Florida, is when you start to see runners wearing as little as possible, women in sports bras and shorts, men in the shortest shorts they would ever wear, I have some less obvious ways of staying cool for you to try.

Really, I hope those people are wearing sunscreen when they shed their layers.

When the weather starts heating up most runners will notice some changes in their effort level to keep their regular pace. As long as you're running consistently, and there's not a sudden, extreme change in weather, this adjustment is gradual and not too drastic. However, if you've taken a break from running due to injury or illness and the weather is much warmer than when you last ran consistently, acclimating to the new conditions is going to be a bit tougher. This happened to me a couple of times before and it can be quite discouraging. Not only do you have a slight loss of fitness to make up for and recovery to deal with but those set backs are compounded by the rise in temperature. Higher temperatures cause our bodies to work harder, so some adjustments have to be made in running so we don't overheat or become dehydrated. Don't expect to run the same pace when it's 90° as you do when it's 60°. Summer is a good time to work on HR training or running by effort level. Keep your harder efforts to cooler days and break up long runs by doing half outside and half on the "insteadmill."

Protect yourself: Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. UPF protective clothing is great too but you still need sunscreen, I prefer at least SPF 30. It's also important to protect your eyes from the sun, especially if your eyes are light colored, by wearing sunglasses. I have Tifosi Radius for running and riding. My swim goggles are even tinted to protect my eyes when I swim. A bonus to wearing sunglasses and a visor or hat with a dark colored under-bill is that you can trick yourself into believing it's not so hot.

Pick to coolest time of the day to run: Typically this is early morning before the sun comes up. That's my preferred time to run anyway. I know for some people this isn't really possible ("I'm not a morning person" does not make a good excuse though), so just try to avoid what is usually the hottest time of day. Here that's in the afternoon, from about 2-4, I call this the no-run zone. You could also try running at night after the sun has set, not as cool as the early morning but still a lot better than midday.

Opt for the treadmill, if lunch time is when you have the best opportunity to run, some days the treadmill is going to be your best choice. My treadmill is in our garage, so there's no a/c but I still have fans and I'm not under the sun. If you don't have a treadmill of your own and a gym membership isn't an option, there are still others ways you can stay out of the sun during the day. Find a shaded route. Since I've been doing this for a few years now, I can't think of plenty of routes for both sunny and shaded running, if you don't know where the good, shaded routes in your area are you can start by asking someone at your local running store or contacting a local run club. Running near a body of water is a good option as well, as it's typically a bit cooler than inland locations, and you might even be able to take a dip after your run.

My Insulated Nathan Speeddraw Plus

Hydration is probably one of the most important parts of summer running. When it's hotter, we sweat more so we need to drink more. You not only need to make sure you're drinking enough before and after you run, but it's also a good idea to carry water with you or run in an area where you know there are fountain (or faucets) to drink from. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink! Experts say you're probably already dehydrated by this point. If you're never feel like drinking on the run, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. I actually have had the problem of drinking too much, now on my long runs I make sure to take a good sip every mile. Adopting a practice that makes it turn into a habit is very helpful. Hear the Garmin mile beep, take a drink, simple as that. I've mentioned before that I even take water on shorter runs during the summer; I'd rather have it and not really need it, than not have it when I do need it. Sometimes I just pour it on my head or down my shirt. On longer runs, and if you're a heavy/salty sweater, you need to be taking in some electrolytes too. Gatorade, Nuun, Salt tabs, GU electrolyte tablets, it all works. I don't recommend pouring that on yourself though, it can get a bit sticky.

One last tip and this one is still up for debate. A lot of sources would tell you to wear light colored clothing when the sun is beating down, but I bet you've seen photos of people who live in hot desert lands wearing all black. There is science to this! There is more information about wearing dark cycling kits than there is about running clothing, but the outcome should be similar. Supposedly, as long as you are moving, black clothing will keep you cooler than white clothing. There's more detail to the science than I care to get into here, but if you really want to know about it there are plenty of articles you can find.

That's it for part 1 of my Summer Running Guide! What are your tips for staying safe and healthy while running in the summer?

1 comment:

  1. I try not to sweat when I run so I don't need as much water. That' my running tip. Stop Sweating :P


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