1. Hydrate before the run
It’s no good thinking “I’ll be okay, I’ll just grab a drink when I’m finished.” You may be able to get away with that in the winter, but summer running is a different beast. Naturally, we sweat more when it’s hot, so naturally, we need to be drinking more to maintain the balance. How much water should you drink before a run? Depending on how long you’re going to be out there, but if you aim to drink a couple of glasses of water, 2 hours before your run, then that will be a good starting block. You may find that you need more, or that you need to take a water bottle with you on your run, so always assess how you feel during and after your run, and adapt accordingly. Remember – if you feel thirsty, you’ve left it too late!
2. Start off slow
Let your body acclimatise itself to the heat. The body works incredibly hard to self-regulate our core temperature, the least that we can do is help it a little! Try not to come bolting out of the gates – run smart and you’ll find that you have a better run.
3. Be clever with where and when you run
Run smart – that’s becoming the theme of this blog isn’t it? Don’t make life unnecessarily difficult when it doesn’t have to be. If you’re a lunchtime runner, maybe try and squeeze one in towards the end of the day when it’s a bit cooler instead, or maybe set your alarm an hour earlier and get it done in the morning, before the midday sun kicks in? You can be smart when picking where to run too – try and include a park, or even better a forest, in your run to give yourself a break from the direct sunlight and to make things that little bit easier for yourself.
4. Dress well
Suns out – flip-flips out! No, not quite, but runners can have a summer wardrobe too! Clothes that are lightweight, light in colour and have vents are ideal for running in the heat. Substitute your woolly hat for a cap (or visor if you’re fancy), and your gloves for some shades and we’re now starting to look the real deal.
5. Don’t be overly ambitious
Running in the heat can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness and other weird and wonderful sensations of the body. If you’ve gone out with 10kms in your head as a goal, and start feeling any of the above symptoms after around 5km, its okay to just call it a day. Maybe you didn’t drink enough water before the run? Maybe you’d had a few drinks the night before, meaning that you’re more dehydrated today? Maybe it was just one of those runs – your best bet is just ending the run early and focus on recovering for your next one – don’t dwell on it, it happens to the best of us!
Running in the heat doesn’t have to be tortuous, by following these 5 adaptations you can keep your training on track, avoid any possibility of spontaneously combusting, and actually, dare I say it, ENJOY your run!