Over the past couple of weeks I have run in weather that has ranged from 30F up to over 80F, from dry to very humid conditions, from sunny to cloudy to rainy, and I was reminded of the differences we need to make as the heat rolls in. Some folks in the southwest have been seeing temps in the 90s for a while, and as I was chatting with Laura about my guest post she noted that her weather (North Dakota) had jumped from ‘arctic tundra’ to ‘tropical’.
I was planning one of these ‘adjusting to summer running’ posts, but this past week two other posts specifically inspired me – Brianna from IRunHeTris guest posting on ‘beating the heat’ at Southern Running, and one on chafing from RunBlogger. Check those posts out, and let’s get to the summer tips!
OK, so everyone knows that you need to hydrate properly all year long, yeah yeah yeah. But for me where it really hits is the summer. My dehydration rate definitely accelerates as a function of temperature. So once it gets above 60F and I am running more than 10 miles, I absolutely need a nice big water bottle. I’m sure many of you are saying ‘wait, only THEN’. Yes, I know – but up to that point I find chugging plenty of water before and after works for me.
Bottom line – you never know what might happen when you are out there, so always do yourself a favor and carry water. When it is really hot, having a water bottle is a safety element just like carrying your phone.
Also – remember that it IS possible to over-do it with hydration (hyponatraemia), where your electrolyte balance gets messed up and you are essentially drowning your cells. That is where a sports drink can help.
2. Sunscreen, Sunglasses & Hats
Because skin cancer is SO not cool! 🙂
UV light is strongest during the summer months, and also between 10AM – 4PM … so if you need to go out running during those hours in particular, make sure to protect yourself.
Get yourself some ‘sport’ sunscreen (waterproof), a running hat (and yes, it DOES feel hot) and some UV filtering sunglasses to protect your eyes. It only takes a minutes to apply the sunscreen, and the benefits are really important in the long run.
3. Rules of the Road
This past weekend I saw a number of runners (8-10, which for my area is a ton) during my long airport loop run. Some of them were doing everything right, others were running on the wrong side of the road, or side by side and forcing cars to work around them, crossing dangerously with earphones on and more.
It all made me cringe.
Add to this the number of bikers, walkers, motorcycles, and more that start making appearance this time of year and being proactive about safety is even more important than ever.
So learn the rules of the road in your area, and practice active safety. Don’t assume that drivers will see you. Glare is always an issue, more people are on vacation, riding with friends, and other distractions during the summer. In our area in the last week we’ve had three accidents due to cars driving into oncoming traffic, which is a reminder of the crazy dangerous things that can happen.
There is no ‘100% safe’, but we can all work to make things as safe as possible while we are on our runs.
4. Sweat = Good
Here’s the thing, sweating is your body’s way of temperature regulation – and if your body loses control of THAT, all sorts of funky things happen, none of which are good.
The recommendation is that if the temperature is above 98.6 with humidity above 80% … do NOT run outside. Because at that point your body is no longer able to efficiently deal with the heat, so adding exercise to the equation gets dangerous.
But aside from pure temperature considerations, if it is warm you should be sweating all the time. If you are no longer sweating, or getting chills, feeling light-headed, or otherwise ‘not right’ – there is a good chance you are over-heating and dehydrated (or perhaps even over-hydrated). Get out of the sun, stop moving, call someone if you can (better to be embarrassed than in serious physical distress) and drink if you need it.
5. Ease Up on the Pace
Michele wrote about ‘slow as a feeling’ last week, and guess what? When it gets hot you SHOULD slow down. Evidently the effort required to sustain the same pace goes up non-linearly at higher temperatures and humidity.
My approach? Switch my Garmin to display just the time of day or heart rate, so I am tracking but not pushing to maintain pace. This is a definite place where ‘effort based running’ is advantageous. Naturally if you are training for a race you know will be really hot then some of your runs should push the pace in the heat – but in general, don’t feel bad easing up on the pace when it is 90 degrees outside!
Here is the reality: the worst ‘running injury’ I have sustained is bleeding nipples from chafing. TMI? Sorry, not sorry – this IS a running-related blog after all! I’ll spare you the bloody shirt pictures, but trust me that it is no fun.
Well, actually it is discovering just how badly chafed up you are as you hop into the showed that is that great moment of searing pain!
Last fall I discovered that the new band of band-aid (the real rather than generic) I was using lacked the proper adhesive to hold up to the heat and humidity of the Wineglass Marathon, and had to stop for more at an aid station! Crisis averted!
I am lucky to not have severe chafing otherwise, but trust me – Body Glide is your friend for a marathon. #mamaSalt gave a shout-out to Suz for advising her to use it for her first marathon.
Let’s put it this way – unless you are allergic, over-preparing for chafing won’t hurt.
Bonus: Check out this cool Nike running video from 1982!
This is a link from RunBlogger from months ago that has been sitting in one of my drafts. I always find it fun looking back at old commercials I grew up with, and while I wasn’t into running back then so this doesn’t register, it has that great ‘classic era’ feel:
What Summer Running Tips Do YOU Have? Weekend Plans?