While summer running comes with added benefits like extended daylight hours and less laundry, the summer heat and humidity can pose a serious challenge to even the most experienced runners. With a few simple tweaks, hot miles can feel a little more enjoyable. Here are seven running tips to help you stay safe and keep your cool (pun intended) running this summer.
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1. Choose the time of day wisely
It’s no secret that the afternoon is the hottest part of the day in the summer, so opt for morning or evening runs to avoid the midday heat. Don’t shun the treadmill either. On the hottest of hot days, a run indoors can be better for your body than pushing yourself too hard in the heat. It’s also a good idea to look at the weather for the week to plan out your runs ahead of time.
2. Embrace a slower pace
It’s natural that your speed will slow down with the rising temperatures and added humidity. Don’t fret—it won’t halt your progress, and you don’t want to put your health at risk by pushing yourself too hard. Running under strenuous conditions like higher temperatures will help you build stamina no matter your speed.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Hydration is always important, but it’s even more crucial as the temperatures increase. In addition to the 64 ounces of water you’re already drinking daily, Women’s Running recommends drinking an additional 24 ounces of water per pound of bodyweight lost while exercising.
Drinking only water isn’t enough. For proper hydration and to avoid muscle fatigue and cramps, you’ll also need to keep your electrolytes balanced. Every so often supplement your water with an electrolyte packet or mix in a sports drink for recovery.
Bonus tip: Carry a water bottle, energy gels, or salt tablets with you on your run to stay hydrated on the go. You can also look for routes that have water fountains along the way.
4. Keep your personal safety top of mind
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, you're more likely to be a victim of a violent crime during the summer months, and in a Runner’s World survey, 60% of women said they have been harassed while running. Consider carrying a personal safety device for added peace of mind on your next run.
SABRE’s Runner Pepper Gel comes with an adjustable hand strap for easy accessibility, and pepper gel is less likely to blow back in windy conditions. If you’re running at nighttime, the LED Runner Pepper Gel and Personal Alarm with LED Light will help you be visible to oncoming traffic.
5. Dress the part
Comfort is key during the hotter months. Wear breathable, moisture-wicking clothing, and stick to light colors to help you stay cool. Don’t forget to dress your skin too by always wearing SPF. Even if it’s cloudy, you still need to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays.
6. Change your route
If you typically follow an asphalt or pavement path, you might want to switch up your go-to route in the summer. A shaded trail or park path will help keep you cool in the warmer temperature since asphalt and pavement absorb more of your heat and the sun’s rays. A change of scenery is always nice, too. Even when it’s not hot, it’s always a good idea to switch up your route to prevent those with bad intentions from following you.
7. Run with your furry friend
Dogs are more likely to accompany their humans on a run or walk in the summer, which means you and your pup are more likely to encounter other dogs along your path. Make sure you and your dog are protected in case you encounter a not-so-friendly dog, and they attack. Protector® Dog Spray will help keep you and your dog safe from harm and protect the attacking dog from long-term harm since it only works to temporarily disorient the animal. Running with your furry friend is sure to make the heat more bearable!