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After months of seeming like it would never get here, the summer running season is almost here! Some people relish sweating it out in the midday heat, while others dread any temperature over 70 degrees. Love it or hate it, we all have to get out there to get our miles in, and we all encounter the same obstacles that threaten to stop our summer runs. From too much fun to too much sun, there are plenty of excuses that could keep you from your workouts, so here are some easy solutions to keep you from falling into the summer running slump.
Slump: You’ve spent all your spare money on a vacation and now you can’t afford to register for any races. Motivation = gone.
Solution: You don’t have to spend big bucks to run a race. Take some time to search online and you’re bound to find at least one cheap local race. If not, find some fellow runners who will keep you accountable; join a running club, start a couch to 5k program at your office, or just commit to running four days a week with a friend. By the time fall arrives, you’ll be fit and flush with the money you saved all summer.
Slump: That vacation you spent all that money on? You want to enjoy it and don’t want to have FOMO when everyone else is swimming with dolphins and you’re on the hotel treadmill.
Solution: Make room for your workout gear in that suitcase. You know how when you don’t feel like working out but you force yourself to just jog a couple minutes before you let yourself quit, and then before you know it you’re enjoying it? The same goes here; just making yourself pack your gear is half the battle, because when you see your sneakers sitting in your room, you’ll likely be tempted into going for a run. As for those dolphins, you definitely don’t have to miss out—there’s always downtime on vacation when people take breaks between activities to nap or read, so use that time to lace up and get your workout in. And please, don’t use the hotel gym—get out and run on that beautiful beach!
Slump: You spent a little too much time in the sun and now everything.hurts.so.much.
Solution: If for some reason you’ve missed all the news, PSAs and articles about the importance of sun protection (come on!) and forgot to apply your SPF at the beach, odds are you’ll be left with a sunburn painful enough to make you cringe at just the idea of running. Go through the tried-and true home remedies for relief; ice packs, aloe, anti-inflammatory pain meds, moisturizer, and drinking plenty of fluids should all help with the discomfort. When you feel ready to run, slather all exposed skin with broad-spectrum sunscreen, and wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face (bonus points for wearing clothes with built-in UV protection). And if the pain doesn’t get better or worsens, call your doctor to make sure you don’t have a serious burn.
Slump: Friday night’s alfresco happy hour turned into dinner…and into more drinks…and into late night diner food. Now an early morning run seems out of the question.
Solution: First off, do your best to chug some water before bed to rehydrate and ward off the hangover. Unless you have a workout scheduled at a particular time, consider letting yourself get a little extra sleep and push your run a bit later. Once you’re up, drink some lemon water to continue hydrating and aid with any digestion issues you might be feeling from the greasy food. Have a snack like fruit with nut butter or small bowl of cereal to replenish your energy stores 30-60 minutes before you run. And as long as you’re not sensitive to it, go for a cup of coffee for an extra boost. Finally, go into your workout with expectations lowered and cut yourself some slack if you can’t run as fast or far as you planned- at least you’re doing something!