Summer Running Survival Guide
Summer running can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. Training through the heat makes fall miles feel like a breeze (pun intended!) One of my favorite running mantras for summer running is “summer miles bring fall smiles” and it is so true! Braving the heat pays off with big fall PR’s, and with our Summer Running Survival Guide, we’ll help you train safely and effectively this summer!
- Always be prepared! When I first moved to Texas, I made the mistake of thinking I wouldn’t need water on my shorter summer runs outside because I typically didn’t need water on short runs any other time of year. After many runs that turned to walks due to lack of hydration, I quickly learned that I should ALWAYS be prepared. The worst that could happen by being prepared would be not drinking all of my water and having to carry it with me, but the worst that could happen without it could be heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and more!As a rule of thumb, bring water with you on your summer runs no matter the time of day, length of run, or number of clouds in the sky. Your body doesn’t care about any of these things other than if it’s hot, it’s hot! This is why it’s important to have it on hand so you can keep cool and stay hydrated. This leads to the next point…
- Hydrate well and hydrate often. When it’s hot, your body produces sweat in order to cool down the skin. Sweat is a good thing because it can help prevent overheating, but sometimes in the process of sweating the body loses key electrolytes and nutrients. You can help your body by continuing to hydrate not only as a way to help stay cool, but as a way to replenish the body of the water and nutrients lost. As an added bonus, try adding electrolytes into your water! This includes Gatorade, Nuun, or other drink mixes that will help you stay even more hydrated during the hot summer months, or any time of year!
- Dress for the occasion. Wear light colors, breathable materials, and don’t forget sun protection! Moisture wicking hats, sunglasses (goodr are my favorite and affordable running glasses) and sport SPF that will stay on when you sweat. Other tips include tying a cool damp bandana around your wrist to keep on hand and help with cooling!
- Go at your own pace. It’s okay if your pacing is a bit slower than what you might run in cooler temps. In fact, according to science, it should be! According to the NASM textbook, your performance slows down by 7% in 75-degree heat and can slow down by 10% in 85-degree heat. For marathon or longer distances it could slow up to 15%. This means, if you run a 10-minute mile your pace could likely be an 11-minute mile for the same distance over the summer. Trust the process and keep your pacing steady because in the end, your pace will even out come fall! You can read more about the science behind this in our previous article about summer running, as well!
- Last but not least, listen to your body (and the weather!) If it is going to be triple digit heat or if you’re feeling worn down, consider taking it to the treadmill or taking a rest day. Pay attention to the weather and the cooler parts of the day to run, or even try to find a shady path that will protect you from the sun! All of these things will help make summer running more manageable, while also giving you the opportunity to change up your training. I’ve found that a mix of both indoor and outdoor running is perfect for summer mileage because I get to train in the heat, but I also give my body a break a few times a week, as well.
At the end of the day, find what works for you! However, if you plan ahead, be prepared, and listen to your body, you will have a successful season of summer running leading to an even better fall! Stay safe and stay cool this summer, and we’ll see you at Hot Trot!