The summer months are upon us - here are a few tips to help you run in comfort as the temperature warms up.
1. Keep a 'steady-state' of hydration.
Don't down a pint of water just before you head off on a run - you'll just need the toilet within minutes! Instead, throughout the summer months, ensure you keep yourself constantly hydrated. Drink to thirst rather than a prescribed amount, but make sure you always have a bottle of water to sip on.
Here's what the Training Peaks website suggests for hydration:
- Every day: Each day, drink the equivalent in ounces of half your body weight. For instance, a 150-pound runner would aim for 75 ounces of water each day. You’ll know you’re well-hydrated when your urine is pale yellow; if it’s dark yellow or the color of apple juice, you’re dehydrated.
- Before you go: Have eight to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run. Fifteen to 30 minutes before going out, have at least four to eight ounces of fluid.
- On the road: If you haven’t taken the sweat rate test, when you’re out for more than an hour, aim for 14 to 20 ounces of fluid per hour.
- After you’re done: Drink eight to 24 ounces of fluids to rehydrate when you return
2. Wear clothing that wicks sweat away from your body.
There have been incredible advances in garment tech over the last few years and it's no longer just a case of wearing loose-fitting cotton in the heat. Instead, opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking technical fabrics. All Runderwear™ clothing is designed to deliver sweat away from your body, helping it to evaporate quickly and so continue to cool your body throughout your run.
3. Run at dusk or dawn.
Avoid the midday sun if possible by running early or later in the day. The thought of setting an early morning alarm may not sound appealing, but there really is nothing like running just as the sun's coming up or going down.
4. Find a gym with air-conditioning and a fan.
Some people just aren't made for running in the heat! If you really don't like running in in hot temperatures, or you know your body reacts badly to it, stay inside. Most gyms these days have air-conditioning, fans and machines dispensing ice-cold drinks.
Take to the treadmill and avoid the heat altogether!
5. Allow your body to acclimatise and adapt to the hotter temperatures.
The human body is an incredibly adaptive machine and will respond to the stresses placed on it by hotter conditions - this is called acclimatisation.
After several weeks training in the heat, your body will become more efficient at sweating, using less water and losing less salt. After a few weeks heat training, your cardio-vascular system will also adapt through a decreased heart-rate, increased plasma volume and blood flow.
6. Don't forget the sun-screen!
Easily done, especially in the UK where hot, sunny days are something of a rarity! As everyone knows, you can still burn even when it's cloudy so make sure you apply a layer of sun cream before heading out.
7. Listen to your body, take breaks in the shade if required.
The effects of heat exhaustion, hyperthermia or dehydration can come on very quickly, so if you start feeling light-headed, dizzy, headachy or have a tingling in your limbs, stop immediately, have a drink and a rest in the shade and call for help on your phone.
8. Carry fluid with you.
Get yourself a small hand-held running drink bottle or hydration bladder and sip as you go. The average person sweats between 0.8-1.4 litres of fluid every hour, with this increasing the hotter the conditions. Ensure your drink is suitably restorative and has the right balance of electrolytes, sodium and key minerals to replace those you lose.
Remember, drinking too much water can be just as bad for you as not drinking enough and may result in hyponatremia.
If you really don't want to carry water with you, find a loop with somewhere you can keep your water bottle, returning for a drink at every lap.
Some people don't like carry water bottles but there are some sleek designs
9. Choose a route in advance and let someone know where you're going.
Everyone likes to explore whilst out in the great outdoors but going off the beaten track on a very hot day is not a good idea. You can only carry enough fluid to last you a limited amount of time, so getting lost under the summer sun is not advisable.
Therefore, plan your route in advance so you know exactly how far and where you will be going. Take your phone with you so you can consult Google Maps if needed or, if it comes to it, call for a ride home.
Let someone know where you're going and what time you intend on being back, so they can raise the alarm if anything happens.
10. Check the weather forecast!
It sounds simple but check the weather forecast to see what's going to happen that day. Many a runner has been caught out after heading out the door under grey clouds, only for the skies to clear and the sun to appear overhead. The forecast should also tell you about pollen levels if you need to take an anti-histamine and the UV levels for the day for sun-screen application.