Solid Reminders For Running In The Heat

With the spring weather in full effect (yeah!) over here in New Jersey, I am back to being excited about running outside!  I am kind-of a baby when it comes to winter running and usually relegate myself to the treadmill because it is either A- too dark or B- too cold.  I wake up in the dark, drive home from work in the dark…I miss my Vitamin D in the winter!

Over the past weekend I began going through my clothes to start the changeover from winter to summer.  The same goes for my running gear.  Each year, as I do this, I am reminded of some solid tips for running in the heat.  If you google “summer running tips” you’ll get a million hits.  This is not new information.  I am not giving away any secrets.  However, everyone can benefit from a reminder now and then.  So let me be the millionth and one hit when you google for tips!

Here are my top 5:

1. Check the heat index:

It really isn’t enough to just check the weather.  The Heat Index tells you what the temperature feels likes when combining the air temperature and the relative humidity.  If the air quality index is code orange and you have upper respiratory problems, you may not want to run. If it’s a code red, it’s not suitable for anyone to run.  The temperature alone is not enough information.  For example, you may think it is okay to run in 84 degrees but if the relative humidity is 90% then you are dealing with 98 degrees.  No thanks!

A good way to avoid high temperatures and high heat index’s is to run early before the sun is out or after 6pm.

2. Wear Sunscreen

Please, please, please wear sunscreen.  I am amazed by runners (any outside athlete for that matter) who skip this part.  Research shows that runners have a higher rate of skin cancer than non-runners.  Makes sense given that runners are outside more during the summer months and wearing less clothes than the average person.  In addition, remember to protect your lips from the sun too.

3. Drink, drink, drink

Don’t wait until you are running to begin drinking.  Get those fluids in starting before you run.  Make sure you have enough fluids on your run.  Either carry a bottle, wear a hydration belt or make sure your route includes water fountains or other options for drinking.  In addition to water, if you are out there for more than 30-45 minutes you need to start supplementing with electrolytes.  The hotter it is, the more you sweat and you need to replace the vital electrolytes.

4. Dress the part

Technical clothes (I seriously cringe when I see runners in cotton!), light colors, wiking socks, a visor (hats serve to keep heat in and are great for winter, but not for summer unless they are a light technical hat) and sunglasses (with UV protections) will all help aid with keeping cool and safe in the heat.   I love Nike Dri-Fit clothes in the summer and C9 from Target is fabulous.  I live by Balega hidden comfort socks but there are a variety of great light wiking socks on the market.  In the photo above, I am wearing tank and shorts both by C9, balega hidden cool socks, my Team Triumph visor and Foster Grant Ironman UV protected sunglasses.

5. Be smart & safe.

This tip is for year round.  The best tip for running ever, no matter what season, is to run safe and smart.

  • Invest in a road ID– Get one. Now. Do it.
  • Bring your phone-  if you end up stranded, hurt or in any way in need of someone, this is your lifesaver.
  • Change up your routes- Not only does it make running more fun but makes you less predictable.
  • Ditch the music- If you MUST wear an IPod, run with one ear bud out.  I really like running with music, but always keep my ear closest to the road open.
  • Keep your eyes open- You might see the car but there is no guarantee the car sees you.  Assume every driver is distracted and pay close attention especially when running on the shoulder (always against the flow of traffic) and at intersections.  When crossing a street, make eye contact with the driver.
  • Run in populated areas- Chances are if it is populated with runners it is safe.  And if you get hurt or have an emergency there will be people around to help.
  • Be visible- Wear bright colors and if you are running at night wear reflective clothing, tape or lights.
  • Trust your gut- If someone looks shady, they might be; if a street looks scary, it could be; if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Have tips to add?  Please do!

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