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Sun’s out, temperatures are up and moods are chipper—ah, the glorious days of summer. As a runner, each season of the year offers perks to pounding the pavement. But running during the summer offers more than blue skies. Here are a few reasons why running in those middle months beats the rest.
Post-work runs. What’s worse than cold and rainy weather in the fall and winter? The early dark skies force you to hit the treadmill instead of the road. The beauty of summer is that you can still see sunlight after you leave the office at 5 p.m., and you can enjoy the outdoors! So ladies, don’t forget to pack your shorts, tank and shoes in your to-go bag so you can hit the ground running (pun intended)! You might be able to catch the sunset too.
Beach running. Working on your beach bod and tan while running on the sand is a favorite for many runners, local residents and vacationers alike. The fresh ocean breeze and crisp sand feel amazing and refreshing. You can’t do this during winter season in most of America. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
Related: A Runner’s Guide to Sun Protection
New meaning to G.T.L. Move over gym, tan and laundry. Going outside to run, tanning and living life to the fullest take center stage during the dog days. Go ahead, work on your beach-day skin tone while pounding the pavement. We get it—you’re busy, and there’s no better time to squeeze in a fun quickie with your running shoes than when the sun is high and dishing out some heavy Vitamin D.
Better mood. Many studies reveal the people are happier and have less mood swings in the summer than in the winter months. Who wouldn’t be miserable when it rains for days in a row? It puts a damper on your running routine! Matthew Keller is a post-doctoral researcher who led a psychology study on seasonality disorders. In one study conducted during the spring in Ann Arbor by Keller, participants who were randomly assigned to be outside during warm, sunny days showed improved moods and memory compared to participants who were outside when the weather was overcast and crummy, as well as compared to participants who spent the time inside. While most residents spend their time inside (93 percent) he found that moods were a bit better than other months. Plus, spending too much time inside or in cold, wet weather can make one feel cooped up. The warm, bright weather allows you to head outside to burn energy, which triggers endorphins to give you that “runner’s high” feeling. It’s a win-win situation.
Bring on the sweat. Since temperatures are warming up, your body will want to cool itself down—by sweating more. This just means your body is chilling itself more quickly, which improves its overall cooling system. Plus you can sweat out that mai tai that you had the night before at happy hour with your girlfriends.
Related: 9 Tips For Hot Weather Running
Excuse to play in the water. It’s hot outside, and excessive sweating isn’t going to do all the work. Summer is the best time to dump water on you—and you have legit reason. (We encourage doing so in a way that recycles water, like over your lawn or flower bed.) Or, go run through your neighbor’s sprinklers after your run. Let summer be that excuse to act like a little kid again while you unravel the side yard hose.
No waiting for a sunrise. If you’re an a.m. person, that means there’s light outside earlier than normal. No need to pile on the layers of clothing or sit by the window waiting for the sun to peak in the distance; during the summer you can head outside with adequate sun just about any time of day. Fun fact: The solstice is on June 21.