With the onset of summer season, the sun is shining on you – brightly on some days, harshly on others. However, this does not mean that you’ve to put your running shoes back into the storeroom. With the right information, you can learn how to run in the heat and not against it. Here are some tips that might come handy if you are trying to achieve a healthy run in the summer:
Schedule your long runs when the sun is either getting out of its bed (early mornings) or is about to head back to it (evenings). The temperature is low during these two periods of the day, with minimal heat. If you wish to run during afternoons, make sure to pick shady paths. On days of extreme heat, it would be wiser to replace your outdoor run with an indoor one, on the treadmill.
Don’t want to wear yourself out like the hare? Then start slow like the tortoise. Spend the first two weeks of summer allowing your body to get used to the idea of running in hot weather. You may not get to dive straight into the intense workout and experience the endorphins. Taking it easy at first will help you stay consistent throughout the season by protecting your body from early burnout.
If you wish to do a long run, then create a loop that takes you around 35-40 minutes to complete. This will help you stay more focused on your run and feel less distracted by your surroundings. You could reward yourself at short intervals by placing necessities like sports drinks, sunscreen, and chafe relief cream along the route.
To gauge how healthy your run is turning out to be, pay attention to the sensations in your body. Muscle spasm and pain could indicate heat cramps. Heatstroke can make you feel dizzy and disoriented. It can give you a rapid pulse and a high temperature (above 104 degrees). Heavy sweating, headache, and fatigue could be the symptoms of heat exhaustion.
Lastly, stay hydrated and keep away from the frustration of running fast by choosing effort-based running. This strategy encourages you to use perceived effort as your guide, as opposed to pace-based running, which encourages you to use the time taken to complete the run (or a segment of it) as your guide. The idea is to raise the threshold effort gradually through the season, which is better achieved by paying attention to effort instead of pace. Wear clothes that do not absorb heat. And don’t forget to set realistic expectations. The graph will progress, eventually.