Summer Running Tips!

Summer is quickly approaching and many of you are beginning to run outside! If you’re new to running, it’s very important to take care of yourself so that you avoid dehydration and to stay cool. Here are 10 tips that can help you stay cool throughout your summer runs!

 1. Acclimatize: Running in the hot summer sun is a lot different than running in the cooler temperatures. When the heat starts, decrease your intensity by 65-75% and then work your way back to your normal intensity.

2. Check the Index: Check your air quality!
– Orange: risky for runners who are sensitive to air pollution and/or have upper respiratory problems.
– Be mindful of the heat index! Take into account the temperature and the humidity. High temperatures and high humidity makes the temperature feel much higher than it is.

3. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
– BEFORE: Make sure you drink BEFORE you run too! Research has suggested that drinking 16 oz of water 2 hours before you run will ensure good hydration levels
– DURING: changes depending on the temperature  (ex. < 4 miles, water isn’t typically needed, > 4 miles water should be consumed during the run)
– AFTER: Weigh yourself and drink 16 oz of water for every 1lb lost (make sure you weigh yourself before you run to so that you get a good indication of how many pounds you lost)

4. Know the Warning Signs:
Dehydration: occurs when you stop drinking water or don’t drink enough.
– Symptoms: feeling faint, experience nausea and/or vomiting, have heart palpitations, and/or experience lightheadedness
Heat Exhaustion usually develops after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate intake of fluids. The elderly and people with high blood pressure are prone to heat exhaustion as well as people working or exercising in the heat
     – Symptoms:  include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and/or fainting. With heat exhaustion, a person’s skin may feel cool and moist
     – Cooling off is the main treatment for heat exhaustion. Drinking cool, non-alcoholic liquids may help as well as taking a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath. Getting into an air-conditioned environment will also help. If the conditions worsen or have not subsided within an hour, seek medical attention. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it may lead to heatstroke which needs immediate emergency medical attention. Call 9-1-1
Heatstroke is the most severe of the heat-related problems. Like heat exhaustion, it often results from exercise or heavy work in hot environments combined with inadequate fluid intake. Children, older adults, obese people, and people who do not sweat properly are at high risk of heatstroke. Other factors that increase the risk of heat stroke include dehydration, alcohol use, cardiovascular disease and certain medications. Heatstroke is life threatening because the body loses its ability to deal with heat stress. It can’t sweat or control the body’s temperature.
     – Symptoms: rapid heartbeat, rapid and shallow breathing, elevated or lowered blood pressure, lack of sweating, irritability, confusion or unconsciousness, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, headache, nausea, and/or fainting.
     – If you suspect heatstroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Then try to move the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned space. Cool the person down by spraying them with cool water or wrapping them in cool damp sheets. Fan the person, and if possible, get the person to drink cool water.

5. Buddy Up: When it’s extremely hot, run with someone. When running with someone, they sometimes can tell when you’re suffering the effects of heat before you do.

6. Run Early: If at all possible, run in the early morning. The hottest part of the day is typically around 5 p.m. So, if you can’t run until after work, wait until later in the evening.

7. Go Technical: Wearing light-colored running tops and shorts made of technical fabrics will keep you cool and allow moisture to evaporate more quickly
– Good fabric options: Polyester, Lycra, Nylon, CoolMax, and Dry-Fit, bamboo, smartwool

8. Change Your Route: If your normal running route is treeless, find one that provides more shade. If this isn’t possible and you have access to a treadmill, run indoors on really hot days.

9. Lather it on: Be sure to wear sunscreen! Research has shown that runners have a higher rate of skin cancer.
– Choose: SPF of 15 or higher, one that can go on over wet skin!
– Wear sunglasses(100% UV) and a hat (light fabric that promotes evaporation)!

10. Have a Plan: Let your family and friends know your running route. If you’re gone too long, they’ll know where to look for you. If you run on rural greenways or trails, you may even want to pack your cell phone. Don’t change your running route plans at the last minute without letting someone know. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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