How To Deal With Summer Running + 10 Tips to Handle The Heat
With rising summer temperatures quickly approaching, I thought it’d be useful to share the best tips to handle the heat!
I’m personally partial to running in cooler temps, so I get great use out of these tips.
Especially while living in Florida!
Also, practicing proper running safety in the summertime is SUPER important to me, since I’ve personally experienced the negative effects from not preparing properly.
I vaguely remember a summer run I had YEARS ago while I was training for my first marathon.
Being a newbie runner, I didn’t realize the preparation that was required to run in warmer temps safely.
My lack of knowledge, combined with my lack of proper hydration at the time, caused me to collapse on the side of the road mid-run.
Luckily for me, I managed to come out of the situation unharmed.
Later on I realized, it hadn’t even been 10-MINUTES into my run that I pushed my body to exhaustion due to the summer heat! It was (and still is) so crazy to me that heat exhaustion can sneak up on you SO quickly.
What I’m really saying…is that you’ll think you can get away with not preparing, and that you’ll be fine to run whenever. No matter the heat index.
Just…don’t. Take the proper precautions and run safely.
So, before I share the top tips to make summer running bearable, here’s some important information you should know first!
The Signs of Heat Exhaustion
- Pale skin
- Sweating profusely
- Heavy Breathing
- Muscle cramps
I really, REALLY urge you to keep these symptoms in mind when running and be cautious if any of these occur!
Heat exhaustion CAN lead to a heat stroke, so it’s NO joke.
I hope these 10 tips will make your summer running feel not only safer, but MORE ENJOYABLE!
At the end I’ll list my favorite resources that I use that are referenced throughout these tips.
Top 10 Tips to Make Summer Running More Enjoyable
1) Create Your Own Water Stops
Strategically set up water stops pre-run, along your scheduled running route.
Not only does it provide areas for you to check-in hydration wise, but I find it breaks the run up into sections mentally, so it makes those long summer runs go by faster!
Also, feel free to customize these stops as much as needed.
I’ll get really into it and set up some running fuel, electrolytes, and even some BodyGlide — just in case!
Don’t feel silly over-preparing your stops with everything you might need. Even just the fact that I KNOW anything I need is handy makes me feel more at ease.
Also, instead of setting up multiple water stops (cause let’s be real that’s a lot of work), I set one up in a spot that I know I’ll pass frequently.
LIFE HACK: If you’re feeling really motivated, set up a sprinkler at your water stop of choice. Seriously, the most fun addition you can possibly add. Running through it whenever I pass by makes me feel like a kid again.
2) ALWAYS Wear Sweat-Wicking Clothing
Unless you’re trying to have a summer run where it feels like you’re being swamped by hell-fire, be sure to always wear sweat-wicking clothing.
It’s so beyond crucial, not only for comfortability, but to prevent friction and chafing.
Also, since the material is breathable it allows your body to regulate temperature more effectively, so you will be less likely to overheat.
And don’t even get me started on why wearing cotton is awful!
Cotton straight-up just NEVER dries, so it doesn’t allow your skin to breathe. It will just trap heat in, and overall make you feel like a soggy mess.
Save yourself the discomfort and buy some sweat-wicking gear instead.
Sweat-wicking gear is normally ten-times better quality anyways, so in the long-run I’m saving money!
3) Walk When Necessary
Or even when it’s not necessary!
Chances are, if it’s exceptionally hot out, adding in some walk breaks could be the difference between getting that 8-miler in, or not finishing the run at all.
This is something you’ll be able to tell more over time, but at first play it safe and walk from time-to-time.
You might find you feel comfortable running slower for a longer period of time instead, but make sure you’re listening to your body and paying attention to its needs.
4) Shaded Trails
If you have access to a shaded area that you feel comfortable running in, take advantage of it!
I’m lucky enough to have access to Fort Clinch State Park (pictured above) which has an entire long road full of canopy trees.
For the most part, because of the shading, I’m able to continue my training runs as normal!
5) Soak a Headband
So simple, yet so effective!
I’ve pretty much made it a habit of doing this before any summer run.
Take your sweat-wicking headband (my absolute favorites are Bondi Bands) and soak it in some water before your run.
I’ve also made it a practice to drench my headband in icy-cold water during my water stops, since its a no-fail way to keep me SUPER cool throughout my longer runs.
6) Use The Treadmill — If You Must!
I know many of us hate the “dreadmill”, but if it’s good for anything, it’s good for THIS.
There’s never an excuse to miss our training runs due to the heat when we have a treadmill available. And as much as some of us despise it, there are SO many ways to make it feel like much-needed you time!
You can check out the ways to make treadmill running enjoyable HERE.
7) Ice It Up!
Another something simple that’s SO effective, is “icing” yourself before your summer run.
And no, I don’t mean adding some bling to your outfit (unless that’s your thing), but literally placing ice in your hat, pants, or my personal favorite — my sports bra (blush).
This may sound borderline innapropriate to some of you, but it’s LEGIT, OKAY?
Just give it a try.
You’ll feel weird at first, but especially for the ladies who can utilize the sports bra option, it’s ridiculously helpful.
8) Break Up The Run
While this tip is one of the harder ones for me personally, it works wonders for many.
I’m one who prefers to complete runs all at once; however, it has really helped many a runner avoid those miserable hot running conditions.
Basically, if you have a 10-miler planned for the day, maybe opt for two 5-milers instead.
Many plan a run early in the morning (before it gets too hot) and later on that night.
Once again, still something I prefer not to do personally, but I definitley keep this option in my back pocket in case extreme heat calls for it!
9) Night Running
If you haven’t considered night running yet, what are you even doing?!
I suppose it depends on the runner, but I find it so relaxing and serene.
It feels like you have the roads and trails all to yourself!
A word of caution, especially for the women out there, please be sure to practice proper night running safety.
Wear reflective gear, be aware of your surroundings (avoid the headphones), stay in well lit areas (when necessary) and utilize the buddy system if needed!
10) Wear a CamelBak!
If I was forced to put only ONE tip on this list, this would most definitley be it!
I’ve never made a more worthwhile purchase as a runner, than when I bought my first Camelbak.
Having water at the ready anytime, no matter where you run, is BEYOND helpful.
I resisted the idea for a long time, but after I finally caved and invested in one, I ended up running more trails and completing more runs than I ever have in the summertime.
While I would honestly say it takes a little getting used to in terms of running with something on your back, after a few runs I couldn’t even tell it was there.
If you’re looking for a fool-proof way to make your summer runs much more enjoyable, I would seriously consider investing in a Camelbak.
There’s SO many ways to make our running experiences more enjoyable, and sometimes it’s worth the little extra effort to make that happen.
Cause why make a sport that’s oftentimes uncomfortable, even MORE so?
Here’s to crushing those HOT summer runs!
P.S. I would love to hear from you!
If there’s anything in this post that resonated with you, or anything you’d like me to touch on further, don’t hesitate to let me know! 🙂
You can reach me by commenting beneath this post or by entering your email in the box below (and receiving your free gift)!
Till next time!
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