How have you been handling running in the summer? With the heat and humidity it’s pretty tough, right?
If you’re a new runner, this may be your first time running in high temperatures. I can tell you that no matter how long you’ve been a runner, it is always an adjustment to transition to summer running! In Philadelphia, we’re heading into our 5th heat wave of over 90-degree temperatures and there is no end in sight! But if you’re training for a race, you can’t let a little thing like hot weather stop you!
For this month’s Running 101, I’m going to share some of my greatest tips for conquering summer running. Yes, it’s challenging and sometimes absolutely miserable but you can do it – without resorting to the treadmill every day!
I’ve previously shared the following Running 101 topics:
I hope you find these tips to be valuable…unfortunately, we’ve still got a good amount of summer running still left!
I’m going to be honest with you: I HATE running in the summer. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that the winter and fall are my favorite running seasons and that the summer is an absolutely miserable experience for me. But the good thing is that I love running and training more than I hate summer running, so over the years, I have learned how to “deal with it” and not complain so much about the weather!
If I can get through running in the heat, so can you! I hope you find these 5 tips for summer running helpful!
First things first – if you’re running in the summer, you have to learn how to acclimate to the weather. While it might seem wise to avoid the hot and humid temperatures for training, I advise against it. Learning to run in the heat over time will make you a stronger runner, and the hard work that you put in will be rewarded with speedier races in the fall!
In one of my favorite posts about How to Run in the Heat Without Dying, I talk about how you can run in the morning or at night to try to avoid the worst of the heat. This is definitely one of my go-to’s, but it isn’t fool-proof. I’ve had runs at 5:30 in the morning that was so humid that I felt like I was running in slow motion, and runs at 7:30 at night where there was still a heat index of over 90 degrees! So why not just embrace it?
Another unavoidable fact about summer running is that the heat and humidity will slow you down! You may find yourself running over a minute slower than your normal average pace on these hot runs – that’s normal! Instead of being discouraged, embrace it and focus on your effort instead of your pace. Again, I promise you, these tough runs are worth it in the big picture!
I believe that the treadmill is an excellent last resort – and I mean last resort! While treadmills have their benefits, there’s no better training than hitting the road or the trail in real world conditions. I only use the treadmill in the summer if there’s a thunderstorm forecast on my scheduled training day. If you find yourself sticking solely indoors for your summer running, try to replace one of those treadmill runs with a run outside and see how it goes! It might not be as bad as you think, and you’ll have all the bragging rights!
Can I say how great it is to be back to running at 5 am before work now that we have more daylight? I have really been looking forward to this time of year. But one thing I have to give a precaution about is that even though the summer days are longer and we have more daylight for running, you can NOT neglect your personal safety!
Here are a few things I suggest to stay safe out there:
Has anyone yet invented sunscreen that doesn’t feel gross? One of my least favorite things about running in the heat is the “ickiness factor”. My body warms up very quickly when running, so if the weather is already hot and humid, by the end of my run, no matter the distance, I’m going to look and feel like a hot mess! And when you add sunscreen to the mix, ugh!
Despite the discomfort, sunscreen is a necessary evil, and not just during the summer months but anytime you’re outside. I hate saying this, but even if you’re an African-American, you have to wear sunscreen! We are not immune from skin cancer…skipping sunscreen is not worth the risk. Look for broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30.
There are so many different types of sunscreen on the market that it can be overwhelming to make a choice. I recommend getting brands that are geared for athletes; they usually have “Sports” in the title. Runner’s World has 8 types of sports sunscreens that they recommend – I’ve used the Coppertone Sport brand and it gets the job done.
Make sure that you cover every part of you that’s exposed to the sun – face (including ears and neck), shoulders, arms, and legs. If you’re running in your sports bra, thoroughly cover your chest, stomach, and back too! I have some unfortunate tan lines from running in shorts, so I’d suggest getting as much coverage as possible so you don’t look like a zebra!
And if you’re going for a long run this summer (hello marathon trainees!), reapply sunscreen during your run! You can bring a small spray or lotion in your pack. You don’t want to be like this ultramarathoner who paid the price with severe sunburn – I’ll spare you the photos.
Okay, so this is something that I struggle with because I only wear prescription glasses. My glasses do provide some UV protection, but not nearly as much as polarized sunglasses, which I highly recommend wearing if you’re out running in the summer.
There are lots of great brands out there – my fellow BibRave Pro’s have tried the XX2i brand for running, here are a couple of reviews worth checking out:
Another way to protect your eyes is by wearing a brimmed hat or visor, bonus if it’s made with UV protection! I used to not like wearing hats while running, but I’ve recently reconsidered – they also have the benefit of protecting your scalp from the sun’s rays.
It goes without saying that staying properly hydrated is one of the most important things to do when you’re running in the heat. But one area that I think a lot of people forget, and not just beginner runners, is that you not only need water, you must keep replenished with electrolytes!
When you sweat, you are losing salts like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium that your body needs to properly function, so replacing those minerals with drinks containing electrolytes is the way to get your system back in balance.
You can supplement your hydration with electrolytes in many ways:
Summer running definitely has its challenges, but I hope you found these tips helpful!
How have you been enjoying summer running so far? What tips would you add?