Hidden Secrets to Running in the Summer Heat
Updated: Mar 19
By: Randy S.
Your Complete Guide to Running in the Summer Months
Summer is almost here. While it is the best time to vacation, travel, and sunbathe, it also means that you need to adjust your running program.
Running in the hot summer months is not easy. But this does not mean it is impossible to get a good run.
Sure, the scorching heat and humidity might slow you down. The good thing is that you can do it with the right training program and determination.
Running in the hot summer months should not be a problem if you put proper procedures in place.
With the correct procedures and determination, running in summer might be more beneficial than running in the cold winter months.
This means that it will make you a good runner during winter and fall. So how do you run in the summer months?
We have prepared this comprehensive guide to help you make the best of summer.
First Things First, Why is it Hard to Run in the Summer Months?
You are probably wondering why it is difficult to learn in the hot summer months. Well, running in the summer months can be challenging for a variety of reasons.
Obviously, the most significant obstacles you will face during summer training are humidity and the scorching sun.
Read on to discover why it is challenging to run in the hot summer months:
Humidity Makes Things Difficult
Humidity is one reason you will have issues when trying to run in the hot summer months. So how does humidity make life difficult for you?
Well, high levels of humidity make running more taxing because it makes the sun feel hotter.
Case in point, running on an 88-degree day with 60% humidity will feel more desirable than running on an 88-degree day with 40% humidity.
When you are running, your core body temperature will increase, stimulating the sweat glands to excrete water droplets.
These water droplets will carry transfer excess heat from your body to the surface of your skin.
When the sweat evaporates, your body will cool down. Now, humidity makes it impossible for the sweat to evaporate, making your run terrible.
The Scorching Sun makes it All the More Difficult
Apart from the humidity, the scorching summer heat will also make it hard for you to run during the summer months.
To begin with, you are going to feel worse running in the hot sun.
Think of how terrible you feel whenever you go down with a fever. That is how you might feel when you run in the scorching summer heat.
Second, blood will be diverted to your skin when your body temperature goes up. This is a survival tactic by your body to help you beat the unbearable temperatures through evaporation and sweating.
Unfortunately, your body will not have adequate blood to supply oxygen to the running muscles.
When this happens, you are likely to find it hard to maintain or increase the pace. Most running enthusiasts compare it to altitude running.
Lastly, you will be susceptible to dehydration during the hot and humid summer months. When you are dehydrated, your body will find it hard to overcome the hot temperatures.
You can only imagine how terrible this will make you feel. What is more, it will hinder your efforts to increase or maintain pace as you run.
And that is not all, running in the heat also affects recovery. This means that you will have trouble keeping up with your post-run and pre-run exercise.
After your exercises, your body will require more time to replenish and deliver vital nutrients to every organ, including the involved muscles.
What Happens When You Run in the Heat?
Now that you know why it is difficult to run during the summer, let us look at some of the dangers you are likely to encounter when you run in the scorching sun and high humidity levels:
You are likely to sweat so much when you run in hot and humid conditions as your body tries to cool your body.
When this happens, you will be susceptible to developing muscle spasms after losing too many electrolytes and fluid.
The good news is that they are easy to handle. You need to hydrate and eat a healthy diet to replenish your electrolytes.
Every runner has experienced dehydration at some point. Dehydration is never a problem unless it results in more than 4% of fluid loss. Trouble will begin when your body losses an abnormal amount of fluids.
You are likely to experience fatigue, mental disorientation, and dizziness. Again, overcoming hydration is not impossible.
Simply drink adequate water and sports drinks such as Gatorade before and during your run.
Heat exhaustion occurs when you overwork in the scorching heat and humidity for a considerable amount of time.
Heat exhaustion is common among runners who are not used to running in the sun and causes nausea, dehydration, headaches, and high temperatures. Stop running immediately you suspect you are facing heat exhaustion.
Heatstroke occurs when your core body temperature goes over 105 degrees.
Typical symptoms of heat stroke include headaches, confusion, poor balance, clumsiness, and lack of sweating.
Take a cool bath and seek immediate help whenever you suspect you have a heat stroke.
So, How Do You Run in the Heat?
Is it ok to run in the summer heat? Well, running in the sun is not impossible. You can do it if you put some measures in place to run in the intense heat. B
the novice and experienced runners should follow these measures to beat the summer heat and run effectively.
Read on to discover how you can run effectively in the hot summer months.
Prepare for the Hot Summer Months
One way of beating the scorching sun and high humidity levels in the summer is to prepare your body.
Pre-training allows your body to adapt to the heat. You will need 2 to 4 weeks to get ready for the summer.
It is advisable to start with low-intensity training such as walking before you start running. This will give your body ample time to adjust to the high temperatures and humidity levels without causing any bodily harm.
If you are a new runner, it is vital to pay close attention. This is because you have not been accustomed to the outdoor environment as well as a runner who has been running outside for quite some time.
It is advisable to start your pre-training with walking or jogging before working your way up to your running schedule.
Remember to hydrate and eat a healthy diet when you start your pre-training program. It is also advisable to adjust to your schedule as time goes by to transition to the actual running program seamlessly.
Running in the Summer Months
Once your body is ready for what is coming, you should not hesitate to start your summer running schedule. Remember to keep the following considerations in mind whenever you hit the roads: ·
Time Your Runs
It is inadvisable to expose yourself to the unforgiving summer months just because your body is well-prepped for it.
If you have a flexible schedule, it would be best to run when the sun is less intense to avoid the unforgiving sun.
For instance, you should run before dawn and after sunset to protect your body from the heat and high levels of humidity.
· Stay Hydrated
Running before dawn and after sunset is not enough, you still need to make sure you are hydrated.
Drink lots of fluids and eat, pay attention to nutrition to replenish the level of electrolytes in your body.
The role of electrolytes is to replace the salt you will lose through sweating and prevent you from taking too much water (hyponatremia).
Failure to drink enough water every day will make your blood thicker and reduce your heart rate. Always have a bottle of water with you before heading out.
Wear Loose and Light Clothing
The next thing you can do to overcome the summer heat and humidity is to run in moisture-wicking running clothes. Loose and light clothing play a huge role in keeping your core body temperature in check.
What is more, they will leave enough room in your body for air circulation. Such running gear will also dry quickly when you sweat to cool your body.
Keep Tabs on Your Intensity
Drinking enough water and fluids, wearing loose and light running apparel, and choosing the right time to run will not work if you fail to monitor your intensity.
First, it is advisable to reduce your pace in the hot weather. Slowing down will give your body the much-needed energy to keep your core body temperature in check.
Increasing the intensity will therefore lead to overheating and related heat illnesses. ·
Pre-cool Before You Run
Finally, cooling your body before you run will bring down your core body temperature to make things less daunting for you.
It will allow you to maintain your pace over long distances before your core body temperature goes up.
It is ok to run in the summer months. You only have to prepare your body and choose the perfect time to avoid the summer heat and humidity. Remember to drink water and plenty of sports drinks like Gatorade to keep your body hydrated.
Check out our article on The Ultimate Guide to Safe Road & Trail Running
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Please consult with a doctor before starting any exercise or nutrition plan.