How to Handle Summer Running

If you are anything like me, you’d be really feeling the pinch after the last few weeks of training through the intense heat and humidity that the weather gods have dealt us. It has me almost craving those cold winter mornings again.

There is a lot of research out there that suggests training through the heat and humidity can have significant benefits on race performance, so that is good motivation to stick at it. Here are a few tips I have to help deal with the summer running and hopefully keep any effects it has on your running to a minimum.

  • Stay Hydrated – this goes for before, during and after a run. Hydration is important at all times, but obviously with the increase in heat and humidity our sweat rates will increase significantly. This can further add to the risk of dehydration, consider drinking electrolyte formulas more often, and maybe look at carrying a handheld bottle or stopping at drink taps as often as possible.
  • Dress appropriately – wearing cool lightweight materials is certainly what I’d recommend during the warmer months. Preferably clothes that are slightly looser to allow for airflow, I’d also suggest lighter colours that don’t hold as much heat. Remember however, increased sweat means increases chance of chafing – so don’t be afraid to lube up.
  • Run Early or Run Late – look at the weather forecast, if we are expecting temperatures to slowly rise throughout the day, get out for a run early before the sun is up, if we are expecting a cool change it can be worth waiting until the sun has gone down.
  • Choose location carefully – sometimes we don’t have the luxury of choosing when to run and just have to squeeze it in whenever we can. This is where choosing the right location can make the world of difference to your run. If there is a sea breeze running along the waterfront can be fantastic, or running in the bush or shade are other great choices, just be careful for snakes in the bush!
  • Be SunSmart – wearing a hat and sunscreen, while they won’t necessarily make the run any easier, they might make the next one a lot easier as there is nothing worse than dealing with sunburn!

Finally, just be sensible during the warmer months, don’t be afraid to modify your training or change your week around. If you have got a long run planned and you know in advance it is going to be hot, try do it on a cooler day. I certainly find it is a lot easier to do some 200m reps on a 35 degree day than it is to slog through my long run.

Enjoy your running this Summer, while it is definitely tough - it is certainly rewarding and there is nothing quite like jumping in the Ocean or Pool for a refreshing dip, or having that Ice Cold drink after battling it out on a hot summers run!