Summer is here! While I love summer, as a runner living in a warm and humid area, it does bring with it some challenges: heat, humidity, random storms and more. Now is the time to make sure you are prepped for summer running. It can take a few weeks of stifling hot runs for your body to adapt, so be patient with yourself and with your running.
Here are a few tips to help prepare yourself physically and mentally for summer running:
- If you can, go early or late. Before the sun rises and after it sets will give you the chance the run during the coolest parts of the day. The tradeoff of early morning running is that the humidity is at its highest. As the temperature rises, the sun will burn off most of the humidity but, of course, it will be hot. Pick your poison. I would much rather go in the morning, even with the awful humidity. Plus during the summer, I’m much more likely to have plans at night so morning runs are key for me.
- Get your hydration under control. Dehydration and heat stroke are real. Don’t be caught out on a run without water. Bring a handheld or a camelbak. Or stash a bottle of water in your car and run loops so you can grab it. Whatever you have to do, make sure hydration is a priority.
- Think about adding in electrolytes. Whether you choose Nuun, Gatorade, or something completely different, think about how you will replace the electrolytes your body will lose while you are sweating it out on the run.
- Slow it down. When the temperature rises above 50 F (the “optimum” running temperature), pace naturally slows. Don’t fight this. Slow down and run based on effort rather than sticking to a pace that may simply be too fast for the temperature. I learned this the hard way a couple of weeks ago after nearly bonking on a long run. I went out way too fast and the humidity really dragged me down. I won’t be making that mistake again.
- Be careful with races. I have a pretty hard and fast rule that I won’t run any summer races that begin after 8am (unless they are evening races). It’s just too hot for me to race. I’m not a fan of how I feel afterwards. You don’t have to be as adamant about the start time as I am, but it’s definitely something to consider as you look at the summer races you are preparing for.
Do you love running when the temps rise? Or do you (like me) dread the humidity and heat?