How to stay cool & still love running:
Running in the summer months (especially in Texas) can be very difficult! For most of us that means we are slower, sweatier, and unable to dress adequately enough for those rising temperatures. We have to adjust. Finding the best time, route, gear, and the best hydration can be a challenge, but we are here to help!
One of the best things you can do while running in summer heat is to run in the “off hours”. The “off hours” are early in the morning or later in the evening. The sun is much more intense between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm, but sometimes the sun is at its strongest between 5 and 6 pm! If neither option is available to you (and the treadmill feels more like the dreadmill), we suggest the two S’s: shade and slow down!
We will talk a little bit more about shade in our “route” section below, but let’s talk about slowing down. Begin your runs slower than you normally would to avoid spiking your body temperature and your heart rate. A good rule of thumb is for your pace to be 20-30 seconds slower per minute than your “normal” pace. Remember, everyone is slower in the heat. It is not just you, it is science!
As we mentioned before, the best route is one that includes plenty of shade. If you are thinking “of course, I know that”, here is a few more route suggestions:
– seek out grass. Asphalt and concrete retain heat so find a park, football field or even a golf course (just watch out when they say “FORE”!)
– find the breeze. If possible, start your run going with the wind and then run back with the headwind. The wind will act as a cooling agent (and you will need it!)
– find an inside option. Seek out a treadmill or substitute one weekly run with a run in a pool (check out your local gym or fitness center for day passes) for the same duration. Use a flotation device and move those legs like you are running on land (slight lean and a vigorous arm pump).
(P.s. take walk breaks on any route! Even if it is just bursts of 30-45 seconds, you will be able to catch your breath and finish strong without overheating yourself!)
The overarching suggestion is to wear as little as possible. Now, for some of us, that sounds risque! But the premise is sound. Wear apparel that is light in color, weight, and has vents or mesh in the fabric. Microfiber polyester and cotton blends are great options.
Grab a hat (or visor) that is also light in color and fabric (with mesh and vents!), sunglasses (can we recommend Goodr enough?) and wear sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher.
Did you know that during the summer you can lose between 6 and 12 ounces of water every twenty minutes of running? AND alcohol, antihistamines and antidepressants can all have dehydrating effects? Making sure you are adequately hydrated is key and electrolytes are the answer. Wash down electrolytes (we love Nuun!) an hour before your run and then aim for five to eight ounces of water or electrolytes for every 20 minutes you are running. Electrolytes increase your water absorption, replace electrolytes that you lose in sweat, and taste good (which makes it way easier to keep drinking them!)
And one last thing..
Take it easy on yourself and know when it is important to end a run early! Overheating, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can happen to anyone so knowing the signs (see right) and staying vigilant can help save your life.
Stay safe and hydrated this summer friends!
Unsure of where to grab the gear, hydration or cool shades this summer? Check out Fort Worth Running Company, Dallas Running Company (Plano), or Dallas Running Company (Southlake) for all your “beat the heat” needs. Head to: www.lonestarfootwear.com to JOIN THE HERD!