Running in the heat – How to train in the heat of summer

After the cold dull dreary months of winter finally, it’s here.
Summer, with longer days, rising temperatures and bright sunny, blue skies, what’s not to love?
Everyone’s mood is lifted and life seems to slow down while we enjoy strolling along the beach and hiking the trails taking in all the free Vitamin D that is on offer.

But if your a runner with a marathon or any other racing event booked in for the Autumn, then the chances are you will be all set to start your summer training schedule.
But running in the heat has many challenges and unlike running in the winter where we can just get up and go, we need to plan a bit further ahead if we are to survive the blazing heat of the sun.

In summer it’s not just the sun we need to worry about – even if it rains the humidity can be a complete energy sucker.
But you can’t just stop and skip on your training plan just because it’s hot out there.
With a little bit of forwarding planning and understanding your body, you can train savvy ready for any running race come the Autumn.

Here’s running bugs tips for training in the summer.

It’s hot, you’re going to be getting a lot more sweaty and sticker a lot quicker in the summer – take a look at your running wardrobe. What you would wear in winter probably isn’t apt for running in the summer and heat.
Keep your clothing loose fitting to help get the air flowing and avoid dark colours as this will absorb the heat – lighter colours rebound the sun’s rays helping to keep you cool.
Put a cap on to protect your face from sunburn and even a pair of shades with UV properties.
If you’re going to be on your feet for some time you might want to consider UV protective arm sleeves – believe it or not they actually keep you cool.

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Protect your skin
This goes without saying within the summer – but any runner knows drippy sweat in the eyes hurts, in fact, it hurts a lot but add sunscreen into the equation. Investing in a good sweat-free face sun cream is essential.
Slap on the sun cream on every part of your visual skin and go for a high factor if you’re going to be out in the elements for some time. Chafing is bad enough without adding sunburn into the equation.

Running is thirsty work no matter what time of the year. But unlike in winter where you might not take any water out on your run, running in the summer your body will require you to take on more water and a lot sooner as you sweat a lot more.
But it’s not just water your body will require.
As you sweat a lot more than in the winter you will be losing more essential salts and minerals (electrolytes)
So if you’re on a long training run ensure you carry not only water to clench the thirst but you’re also going to want to replenish your potassium and sodium levels that you lose in your sweat, and the best way to do that is to pop an electrolytes tablet into a water bottle.
Depending on your run and what distance you may want to consider a hydro pack to carry your hydration in.

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Time of day.
We all have our preferred time of day to go for our runs but if you’re a runner who likes to runch you may want to rethink your daily schedule.
The sun is at its highest and therefore at its hottest midday which is going to make that run feel a whole lot harder than what it should.
Try running a lot earlier in the day or a lot later when the air is fresher and a little cooler.

Watch the weather
Living in the UK we have rain and at times a lot of it which is heaven for us runners during the summer months, well for some of us anyway.
Keep your eyes on the forecast and if you can switch your long run to a cooler day or a day where showers or rain is on the horizon, it may be worth considering. – be flexible and use the weather to your advantage.

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Running Route
You may want to consider and plan out your run route with a little more thought in the summer months. Consider shading from trees to protect you from the sun’s rays and to keep you cool.

If there is one time of the year where we should slow it down, summer is that time.
Your body is working so much harder when it’s hot you really should give it a break and work with it.
Your body is an amazing machine and does what it needs to do without thinking. When it’s hotter, your heart rate is higher as it is working a lot harder to keep you cool, and this is even without running.
So this is why when we run in the hotter months it feels so much harder – our bodies are working harder for us so slow the pace down and respect the heat.

Know the danger signs
No matter what precautions we take sometimes the heat just gets the better of us.
Listen to your body and respond accordingly – never push on and continue a run if the following happens.
Severe headache, sickness, nausea, dizziness – these are all telltale signs that you are dehydrated and you should stop running straight away, seek shade, and cool off – seek help and hydrate.

The long-run
So you have watched the forecast and have chosen the day to get out there for the crucial long run, you have your summer running checklist – sun cream slapped on, water in the bladder, the hat and shades are on and looking cool, electrolytes in a bottle, but what else should you be packing in that pack. Depending on how long the run is your going to need to refuel the energy – maybe think of gels or real food depending on the space of your pack.
A mobile phone in case you need to phone for help – ensure it has battery before you set off.
Sun cream – yes you have already put it on but it only protects for a certain amount of time so if you’re going out for some time you will need to re top the cream.
Cooling mist spray – ok this is not essential but can be a little bit of cooling down heaven on a long hot summer day run.


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