6 Tips for Cool Summer Runs

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The summer is a wondrous time in which to run, train, and simply enjoy exercising outdoors. But make sure you pay heed to the following tips when you’re getting ready to head outside into the summer heat.

There’s something about summer that gets many of us out of our rocking chairs and into our running shoes. Whether it’s the green, lush landscape or the sense that the whole region is flush with life, running in the summer is quite enjoyable. That said, the summer can be a time of oppressive heat, and without taking proper precautions it can actually be quite dangerous to run during the heat of the day. The following are some key tips to keeping cool and safe during your next summer run:

  • Run in the morning: The coolest part of the day is often right around dawn, so gear up and hit the road for a quick early morning run. You’ll feel great all day, the temps are often up to thirty degrees cooler in the morning than in the early afternoon, and you will enjoy a less intense sun.
  • Dress appropriately: Lightweight, loose fitting clothing in light colors will help keep you from overheating. Moisture wicking clothing that is specifically designed for running is engineered to remain comfortable and breathable – even on hot days.
  • Hydrate: There is no replacement for hydration. If all else fails, consuming sufficient water prior to, during, and after a run is the most critical piece of advice for staying cool this summer. Drink appropriately before your run, and then consume at least 6-8 ounces of water every twenty minutes of active running. You can increase this amount if you still feel thirsty.
  • Keep your head appropriately covered: Hats offer terrific protection from the sun, but a tightly-fitted hat may prevent heat from escaping from your head. The head radiates a lot of heat, so either wear a loosely-fitted hat or one with a mesh top.
  • Slow down: There is no glory in ending up in the hospital due to overexertion. On hotter days, lessen your pace and run at 80% of your normal speed. Don’t worry about the impact of running off your normal pace – this is what any seasoned runner would do when faced with a hot day.
  • Know when to say when: There are times when it is too hot – even in the early mornings, to run safely. There are regions of the country where it can remain in the high 90s and low 100s – even during the early mornings. Avoid running on days that see temperature peaks and make up those runs on milder days. This is especially important if you have any health concerns that make you more susceptible when heat is related.

The tips above are a great place to start in helping you manage the additional strains of running in the summer heat. There is no replacement for preparation here – from hydration to picking the ideal time to run, to proper clothing choices and setting your pace slower, you’ll need to think ahead when the mercury rises. But don’t fear, with the proper precautions in place and a focus on appropriate dress and hydration, you’ll be out enjoying a safe summer run in no time.