Culture

What Runners Think About During Hot Summer Runs

This is how you survive those steamy summer jaunts—and how they differ from every other possible climate change during the year.

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com

Sure, running seasons can be looked at as marathon training, off time, base-phase and racing. It’s logical. But my running seasons are more in tune with the weather—lung-searing cold and sideways snow, just about perfect, jungle-hot and pretty darn nice. Even though we may have our favorites, all seasons have their attributes. The temperate ones are obvious. For the sake of argument, let’s look at cold weather and hot weather running, to see what’s laud worthy.

Cold

Frigid temps mixed with bone-chilling moisture make learning to layer a critical skill. And who doesn’t like to learn something new? Instead of bemoaning the temperatures, thank Mother Nature for forcing you to step outside your comfort zone.

Hot

Hello to damn-hot temperatures! Before you hit the dreadmill, protect skin from cancerous rays with your lightest layers and head outside to replenish vitamin D stores. No doubt it will be hot, you will drink more than usual and, let’s face it, you’ll be uncomfortable. But you’ll also adapt. Our bodies are wondrous that way. Remember, us runners aren’t sissies.

Related: 9 Reasons Runners Love Summer

Cold and Windy

The seventh circle of hell. While cold temperatures, combined with wind, are no fun, the adverse conditions make you rise to the occasion and truly want your run. After you’ve thrived on a 5K with wind chills of minus 20 degrees, the last 5K of a marathon will be no big deal.

Hot and humid

As a kid growing up on the East Coast, I always knew it was summer when my shorts stuck to my legs. Ah the memories! But you’re right—it sucked. Load up on skin lubricants and head outside.

Windburn

Okay, nothing positive about it. Generously lubricate any exposed skin.

Sunburn

Ditto. Wear sunscreen—lots of it. Apply early and often.

Related: A Runner’s Guide To Sun Protection

Hot and Buggy

Ah, this one is special. I once stood at the start of what I knew to be a particularly buggy section of road. It was dawn (aka first fly and mosquito feeding time of the day), and there was no breeze. I decided to use it as an opportunity to sprint, hoping my relative speed and resultant sweat would protect me. I was wrong, but the experience still serves as a good reminder to wear insect repellant when heading out at dawn or dusk.

Snow

You know what I think of when I run in the snow—hot summer days. You know what I think of when I run in the baking heat—peaceful snowy sojourns.

Perhaps the ultimate lesson is watch what you ask for and appreciate what you get! Plus, at least in the mountains, if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes!