The temperature is heating up, but you still want to do your daily run. How can you run safely in the heat?
Give yourself time to adjust to the heat and set realistic expectations. Summer is not the season to set personal records.
Acclimate to the heat
The transition to summer weather can happen quickly. This makes it more difficult to acclimate to the summer heat when running. Ideally, you will have two weeks for your body to get used to the heat.
Slow down your pace. Intense workouts generate more heat, making you hotter more quickly. Do an easy run instead.
Check the humidity levels. High humidity can prevent sweat from evaporating on the skin, which means the body doesn’t have a way to cool itself. This could make you overheat faster.
If you choose to run outdoors, find shady spots and avoid peak heat hours. Running midday is not ideal. Instead, opt for early morning or late evening runs.
What you wear matters. Nick Doering, store manager of Fleet Feet in St. Charles, Mo., recommends wearing light layers of synthetic fabric for wicking away moisture.
Some people don’t like to carry water on a run, but when it’s hot, you need to hydrate. Doering recommends even pre-hydrating to prevent muscle fatigue.
He also suggests increasing liquids two days before. “We have lots of hydration products like Nuun, or for the extra heavier sweaters, we have to Endurolytes, which is basically a salt tablet.”
If you can carry water on a run, do it. He suggests two ounces per mile to keep away cramps and stay hydrated.
Doering recommends tracking your heart rate using a monitor or smartwatch. To calculate your target heart rate range for moderate physical activity, take 220 minus your age, then multiply that by 64% and 76%.
For vigorous physical activity, take 220 minus your age and multiply it by 77% and 93%. You don’t want your heart rate to exceed the higher number.
Running with dogs
Find a buddy to run with when training on hot days. That way, you can make sure you both stay safe.
Running in the summer may not be easy, but it will make you a stronger runner, and come cooler, fall weather. It might surprise you at just how fast you can run.
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