Embrace Summer Training

Embrace Summer Training

Let’s face it: running on the hottest days of summer can be brutal. High temperatures, chafing, heat rash, staying hydrated, sun burn and feeling exhausted early into a long run are common frustrations with training in hot weather.

Hot weather can be enough to derail any dedicated runner from their training program, but you don’t need to let Mother Nature win this year. In fact, there are plenty of ways for you to stay on top of your summer training—without suffering through a miserable run.

When you train in the heat, oxygen-rich blood is diverted from the muscles to the skin to help cool the body down. Your muscles are now forced to work with less oxygen, making your work out feel more challenging as a result.

Not convinced? While we can’t promise that you’ll fall in love with training on summer’s hottest days, these summer running tips will at least make sure you can keep running even if the hot weather may be near unbearable.

Look at the Benefits

Ever train in hot weather and feel frustrated by your slow pace? Guess what- there is a good reason why running in high heat feels so much harder—because it really is!

When you train in the heat, oxygen-rich blood is diverted from the muscles to the skin to help cool the body down. Your muscles are now forced to work with less oxygen, making your work out feel more challenging as a result.

Use this to your advantage. Training your body to acclimate to less oxygen can greatly improve your performance, which is why many endurance athletes train in high altitudes. In fact, some researchers have found that training in heat is more efficient at increasing the body’s VO2 max than training in high altitudes.

In other words, don’t be surprised to break your PR in the fall after training in the heat and humidity this summer!

Play it Safe

Although there are benefits to running in high heat, there are also risks. By taking certain precautions, you can prevent heat-related illnesses such as as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke. Addressing these common summer running tips should be part of your base plan for heat training and enable you to continue training through the summer.

1. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can cause dizziness, fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, and confusion. To stay properly hydrated on your run, be sure to plan ahead and have enough water with you on your run and take in fluids before, during, and after your workout.

2. Wear Sunscreen

Sunburns aren’t just painful, they also negatively affect your body’s ability to cool itself. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

3. Wear Light-Colored Clothing that Wicks Sweats

Proper running gear for the summer can make a world of difference in both your performance and your happiness during your workout. Choosing lightweight-colh3ored technical fabrics that wick away sweat will help keep your body cool and prevent chafing.

4. Run During the Coolest Parts of the Day

Running at noon may be the most convenient for you, but it’s also one of the hottest parts of the day. Take advantage of the extra sunlight in the summer months and run in either early morning or late evening.

5. Work with the Forecast

Check the forecast regularly in the summer and take note of any days of the week that are particularly hot and be prepared to edit your schedule. If Thursday is going to be sweltering with high heat and humidity, a good summer running tip is to reserve that day for rest or cross training.

6. Find shade

It may sound like common sense but avoid wide open exposed areas where the sun will be most intense. Choose wooded paths and parks where there is likely to be some relief. If you live in an area where you can get into the mountains, plan to do some of your runs up higher where its cooler.

: Exercising-Outdoors

Embrace Cross Training Activities

You don’t need to be stuck inside for your cross-training workouts. The warmer months offer plenty of fun outdoor cross training activities that you can use to supplement your running.

Another summer running tip is to give your knees a break from pounding the pavement by hopping in the pool or riding your bike around the countryside. Consider taking the pup on a hike and keep cool by sticking to shaded trails.

You can even take the kids to the park and sneak in a workout on the playground equipment. If you have older kids, playing tennis or soccer with them will make for a fun conditioning workout.

Even if you love running, hitting the pavement every day can quickly start to feel routine. By taking advantage of summertime cross training activities, you can switch up your routine and reap the benefits of being a well-rounded runner.

Get Social

Need some extra motivation to get out the door this summer? Consider joining a running club. In addition to helping you meet your fitness goals, running clubs are a great way to meet new people and get involved in your local running community.

You can find running clubs through national organizations such as Road Runners Club of America or your local specialty running store. For informal running groups, Meetup.com is another great place to find a running crew.

Running in the summer doesn’t need to be a drag. When the heat and humidity threaten your workouts, just remember what you can gain from sticking to your training schedule and summer running tips.