I don’t know about you, but I love to run. Call me crazy if you want, but it’s like my mini therapy session every afternoon when I get out of the building to stretch my legs, work up a sweat, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. (Remember that I write in a cubicle every day for you guys. I’m a true hero.)
Here’s the problem: it’s the middle of July, and the temperature could very easily reach 100 degrees this afternoon. I really don’t want this to hinder my running routine or keep any of you from enjoying the beauty of an outdoor run.
So I’ve gathered five simple tips to help you tackle the summer running season — even when the heat kicks in:
This tip can be a tricky one, because fitting a good workout into your schedule is hard enough without worrying about dodging the blistering heat.
If possible, take care of your run early in the morning before work or during late afternoon when the sun’s about to set. Some people feel that a late cardio session is bad for your sleep, but I say, whatever works for you, works. Don’t overthink it.
2. Acclimate Yourself
You can’t just start running in the heat as if you’ve been doing it year round. Once the summer heat kicks in, give yourself two to three weeks to adjust to the higher temperatures. This is how long it can take for your body to learn to decrease your heart rate, decrease your core body temperature, and increase your sweat rate.
It’s always super important to stay hydrated, but when it comes to a cardio workout under the scorching sun, it’s crucial. This is because your body needs plentiful amounts of water and electrolytes to function properly throughout a workout.
In fact, you should drink about four to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your run. (If you’re like me, slurping down a Rev3™ about 30 minutes before a run makes for the perfect energy boost.)
Remember that once you’re feeling thirsty, dehydration has already set in. If this dehydration escalates, it can result in headache, fatigue, profuse sweating, and nausea.
4. Strip Down
That’s right — take it all off. OK, maybe not completely, but you get the point. The less clothing you wear, the better. Stick with dry, loose, and light-colored runwear that helps keep you cool.
Try focusing on other ways to stay cool as well: hats, sunglasses, and shade from trees and buildings. Oh, and watch out for that sunburn by keeping your skin protected.
I know…this sounds like the least motivational tip ever, but when you’re dealing with triple-digit temps, you really shouldn’t surpass your regular endurance. Nobody expects you to do the impossible — save the high-intensity workouts for cooler times.
With summer heat, you should start at a slower pace and gradually increase your speed halfway through your run, if you’re feeling up to it. Just remember: every five-degree increase in temperature above 60 degrees can slow your pace by as much as 20-30 seconds per mile.
These are only some very basic tips for running under the summer sun, but simple strategies like staying hydrated and pacing yourself can make a world of difference. If you’re new to running or ready to start a healthy habit, now’s still a good time to get started. Just remember to be safe under the summer sun, and keep up on your daily nutritional regimen to ensure a healthy performance.
Water Cooler Wellness is a USANA series looking at ways entrepreneurs or everyday folks can get healthy — physically, financially and maybe even emotionally. Next month in Water Cooler Wellness: Bone Health.
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