TIPS FOR SUMMERTIME TRAINING (AND SURVIVAL)
Now that Summer is here (and thank goodness summer is here!) I want to take a moment to highlight some of the key summer training (and survival) tips I stick to and suggest to other runners. This season can be great for running, but it can also throw you for a loop and can be downright dangerous at times. Keep these ten tips in mind and you’re sure to have a fun and enjoyable summer of running.
1. Dress the Weather
Always dress for warmer temps (at least 10 degrees warmer) while running. You're going to generate a lot of heat so it’s important to compensate for that by wearing lighter clothing. A little while ago I put together this handy apparel guide to help you understand different running gear and how to stay cool and dry during your run. Generally, less is more when it comes to summer training.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Hydrate pre-run. The proper way to adequately hydrate before your run, especially for some of your longer runs, is to start a few days beforehand. Get into a routine of consuming about 16 ounces of water every 3-4 hours over the course of the two days leading up to a run. This is especially important when the weather is humid because even with moderate temps, the humidity can raise the real-feel temperature and cause you to sweat more than you might expect.
You should also incorporate sports drinks such as Nuun if you’re prone to lose a lot of sweat either during your run or throughout the course of the day. Nuun replaces electrolytes lost through sweat (sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium), which water does not, and those electrolytes allow your muscles to perform properly.
Hydrate during the run. Consider bringing along some fluids during your run, either in a handheld water bottle or in a waistpack. The good folks at Rhode Runner can help you determine the proper way to carry your fluids with you.
Avoid drinking too much water. Yes, this IS possible! A condition called hyponatremia occurs when you drink too much water and it dilutes the sodium level in your blood. When this happens, your body's water level rises and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause health problems ranging from mild to life-threatening. You should be just fine as long as you stick to 16 ounces every 3-4 hours and don’t overdo it.
3. Wear a Running Hat or Headband
We tend to sweat the most through our heads. Avoid getting that sweat in your eyes (ouch, that stings!) by wearing a light, breathable hat or a headband. Most of the running hats these days are designed to effectively wick the sweat off your head and evaporate it away so it stays away from your face.
4. Choose a Shaded Route
Plan routes that have plenty of shade, for example along a bike path or on a trail. The more you stay out of direct sunlight the more comfortable the run will be.
5. Wear Sunscreen (and Sunglasses)
If you can’t avoid being in the sun, make sure you protect your skin by using sunscreen with at least a 30SPF rating. There are plenty of sunscreens out there that are even sweat-resistant and can last for a long time. Even on cloudy days your skin can still be exposed to harmful UV rays so be kind to your skin. The same applies to your eyes. Keep them protected from harmful UV rays by wearing sport sunglasses with UV-protection. Wearing sunglasses can also keep your face calm (no squinting) which can in turn cause the rest of your body to remain calm during your run. This works for me all the time!
6. Use Body Glide
The worst feeling after a run is when your skin is chafed. THE WORST! This is irritation that happens during skin-to-skin contact or when your skin rubs against your running clothes, especially when you've been sweating and your clothes are heavy and moving around a bit. Chafing usually happens around your inner thighs, armpits or nipples but a simple way to avoid this is by applying Body Glide to these sensitive areas before the run. Apply it liberally, it could save you from a whole lot of pain and suffering.
7. Run Early or Late
Avoid the hottest hours of the day by planning your run early in the morning or later in the evening. Running is a great way to start your day and also a great way to end it! The way this weather is shaping up, we may have quite a few more cool nights so take advantage of them and join us at one of our evening group runs!
8. Alternate Shoes
Sweat can wreak havoc on a pair of running shoes. Consider alternating with a second pair and take good care each of them. Even consider throwing them in the washing machine from time to time under a gentle cycle and with cold water, but then let them air dry and DO NOT put them in the dryer.
9. Careful With That Cell Phone
Sweat can also ruin your cell phone. Trust me, I know! If you tend to sweat a lot and you like running with your phone, use an armband instead of putting it in the pocket of your shorts or tights. Once sweat gets into the phone, usually through the headphone jack or the power adaptor plug, it can act like water damage on the phone and this can obviously be costly to repair or replace.
10. Run With Friends
Last but certainly not least, invite your friends along on your runs. Summer training can be tough so it’s always good to run with other people who can encourage you and remind you to follow these tips, and vice versa!
Train better, train smarter and enjoy a summer full of running!
For more tips on how to handle running in the summer don’t hesitate to pull me aside at one of our group runs or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.