By Lindsey Andrews
It’s that time of year... where each run seems to get progressively warmer and you wonder why you were once wishing for warmer weather. With the hotter temperatures just starting to peak, here are some other steps you can take to survive the remainder of summer running.
Adapting to the Heat for Summer Running
Tip #1: Set your thermostat higher
I know, I sound crazy! But trust me, it’s worth it. Setting your daytime thermostat to 76-78 and your nighttime thermostat to 74-76 will help your body have a smoother transition to the heat. Going out from a 68 degree room into 80 degree temps and humidity will be a shock to the system. It actually makes it remarkably more difficult for your body to adjust when there’s such a drastic change. If you can stand it even warmer than that, GO FOR IT! If you really want to keep your house warmer but hate the "mugginess" that forms with this midwest humidity, invest in a dehumidifier! Removing the humidity in the air and having continual air movement can make an 80 degree house feel much, much cooler than a 76 degree humid house. Just make sure you’re properly hydrating to combat the increase in perspiration anytime you crank up the temps.
Tip #2: Go outside
If you work in a cold office during the day, spend as much time outside as you can! Spend your lunch hour outside and any breaks you have throughout the day. The more you can help your body feel the “warmth” as being normal the better. During the weekends, crack your windows open or hang out on your patio throughout the day! Again, the more your body is used to being out in the warmer temperatures, the easier it is for your body to keep your core temperature down in hotter weather.
Tip #3: Make shade your best friend
When planning your running routes, find ones that have lots of mature trees that will provide you good shade. Staying out of the sun can greatly increase your body’s ability to stay cool, plus it’s better for your skin! If you know you’ll be headed out for a sunny run, lather up the SPF. Not only will it keep you from burning your skin, but it’ll also help your skin absorb fewer UV rays, keeping it cooler and helping your body temperature stay down.
Tip #4: Dress for the mess
Summer running is... messy. Often you get done with a run wondering if you actually ran or went for a swim with the level of “wetness” your clothes have. The mosquitos are vultures and the trails can be a muddy mess after a good summer storm. Wearing the right gear not only makes you more comfortable while running, but it also helps your body function properly with the heat. Sweat-wicking materials are great because they pull the sweat off your body and evaporate it, rather than just collecting in cotton and becoming heavy. Avoiding cotton isn’t only important in your clothing, but also in your socks. Your feet release a ton of heat, especially when running, so keeping them temperature controlled can make a huge difference. Cotton is a high friction material that traps in heat and moisture. Getting socks that are a polyester, nylon, or merino wool blend help pull the heat and friction away from your feet not only keeping them cooler, but also helping them stay blister free. The same goes for your hats - avoid your favorite cotton ball cap and instead opt for a running-specific hat that will help keep your head cool as it releases tons of your body heat during your run.
Tip #5: When in doubt, hydrate your route
If you see the temps are going to be particularly toasty for your run, plan a route where you know you can get some replenishment. Try to have some type of liquid every 20 minutes or so, especially on your long run days. Anytime you know you’ll be running for over an hour in hot temperatures, having a hydration plan can make a world of difference. Whether it’s getting disposable water bottles and hiding them along your route the night before, wearing a hydration belt or carrying a small bottle, or planning a route that has a lot of water fountains along the way, be prepared with a hydration plan that’ll keep you going stronger.
Good luck with the rest of summer running - come on by if you want to chat about any of these tips or check out any of the gear we have that can help keep you cooler and better hydrated!
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