Summer is a great time to run. But running when it’s hot out presents its own set of unique challenges. So to help out, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get the most from your summer run.

  • Be Realistic

Just because you ran an eight minute mile in the spring doesn’t mean you can do it in the summer. People react differently to the heat, so it’s important you acclimatize yourself to the change in weather and listen to your body.

  • Make Sure You’re Breathing In Good Air

If you’re susceptible to allergies or respiratory problems, it’s important you check the pollen/air quality index before you run. While you may be able to run when there’s a code orange out, no one should run when a code red has been issued. Check the weather section of your local TV station website or the like for the most up-to-date (hourly) information.

  • Water is King, Sodium is Queen

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate. Stay ahead of the curve by drinking at least 16 ounces before you run. The amount you need to consume while running will vary depending on the heat, length of run, and your body’s natural metabolism.

Sweat is primarily sodium. The balance between sodium and water should be restored post-exercise, and sometimes during your run. Replenish with sodium/electrolyte sports drinks or salty foods, like pretzels.

  • Know Your Body and Its Limitations

Even with proper hydration, heat exhaustion or a heat stroke can still occur. Nausea, chills, confusion or excessive fatigue are warning signs that the body is overheating. Don’t be afraid to slow down or stop all together if any of these symptoms occur.

  • Run With A Friend

Motivation can sometimes be hard to come by when it’s hot out, so holding yourself accountable to someone else can be a great way to avoid any excuses you may come up with. More importantly, a running buddy can often detect signs of a heat stroke or heat exhaustion that you may otherwise miss or mistakenly gloss over in the name of “pushing the envelope.”

  • Run As Early (Or Late) As Possible

As mid-afternoon is usually the hottest part of the day, you can accomplish more by running in the morning or in the evening. Keep in mind however, that you shouldn’t run within 3 hours of going to bed as it takes time for your body to come to a complete rest.

  • Choose Lightweight Fabrics.

Newer technical fabrics like Lycra, Nylon, CoolMax, and Dry-Fit are designed to wick moisture from the skin, keeping you cooler and drier than fabrics of the past. If you prefer more natural fabrics, choose lightweight cotton, or clothing made from bamboo fibers.

  • Wear Sunscreen

Look to sunglasses and a hat to help keep sweat from the eyes and face for added protection.

Sources:

http://running.competitor.com/2014/05/nutrition/the-truth-about-dehydration-and-performance_76027

http://www.livestrong.com/article/445772-how-much-sodium-is-lost-during-exercise/

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/heat-exhaustion