As we approach the summer, the challenge of running in the heat is one we do face.
Between Wimbledon being on at the moment and me writing this blog piece, I can almost guarantee that we won’t get much of a summer. That said, getting yourself ready to run in the heat is something we really want to do.
Unfortunately, some runners will cope better than others in the heat. That doesn’t mean we can’t be proactive in how we approach running in the heat.
Slow it down
You may need to slow down to prevent yourself from overheating.
If you go run too fast, your heart rate will spike as it battles to keep your body cool at the same time as your muscles demanding oxygen.
That’s why we ask runners to focus on effort levels and not pace when running. Easy running might be slower in the heat, but you’ll still see colossal training benefits.
Less is certainly more when it comes to clothes in the heat. Make sure you aren't overdressed.
You can undoubtedly accessorise to help yourself in the heat. A cap is a good way of keeping the sun off you (ideally, it should be well ventilated). You can always take it off and cover it in water before putting back on!
A 'buff' can soaked in water, and put around your neck, wrists or even used as a headband.
Whilst sunglasses aren't going to keep you cool, they will stop you from tensing your face if the sun is in your eyes. This will help keep you relaxed. A tense face can easily translate to tight muscles elsewhere.
Be aware that your feet might swell up a bit more than usual in the heat. Lightweight running socks will certainly help here.
Drinking and electrolytes
Drink to thirst is still the best advice when running.
The problem with just drinking water is that it doesn’t contain any electrolytes. When you sweat, you lose these electrolytes along with water.
Your body wants to keep these electrolytes in balance. If you are just drinking water, you aren't actually rehydrating yourself. You are just watering down that water to electrolyte balance.
Adding an electrolyte tab into your water will help to combat this.
There are a few things you can do around your running to combat the heat too
Try running earlier in the morning when it’s cooler.
Run in the shade whenever possible.
Use water on the back of your neck and some splashes on your legs to cool you down.
If you are going to be running in the heat, please put on some sunscreen. Protect your skin from the suns rays.
Enjoy your summer of running, and with these tips, you should have a fantastic time.