Ah, summer, sweet, sweet summer, bring on the lazy days … after our runs, of course! And now that my injury is FINALLY healed, I’m even more excited about doing lots of awesome summer runs for Dopey training. (I’ll be sharing all the details about my recovery in a long, LONG Sunday Weekly Wrap-Up post. Until then, here’s the video version!)
Of course, summer running, can be a blast … but if you’re not careful, it can kick you in the … ahem. So even though this was the topic for last week’s Friday Five 2.0 Blog Link Up hosted by Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness, today I’m sharing 5 important things to consider before your next summer run. Also, be sure to check out Jackey’s Tips Running in Summer Heat from last year!
1.) The Early Runner gets the Shade
Or the late evening runner, for that matter. But yes, either waking early and getting your run in before the hottest part of the day or waiting until later in the evening is CRUCIAL to summer training survival! Not only will the temps be cooler, but you’ll also have less sun on your skin. Just be certain to wear bright colors and reflective gear if you’re running when it’s darker.
A bonus for those early morning runners? You’ll feel fantastic for the rest of the day!
Another good idea is to scope out running trails that offer generous shade such as in a park or public trail. Just be careful to always keep safety in mind by wearing only one earbud, being aware of your surroundings, and informing someone where you’ll be!Summer #running tips to stay safe and comfortable! #werunsocial #runchat Click To Tweet
2.) Hydrate Thyself!
Equally crucial is hydration. Being hydrated is important regardless of the time of year, but during the summer, it’s even more important. And this doesn’t mean only grabbing water right before you go out the door. You want to stay ahead of the hydration curb at all times so your urine is the color of light straw. Beginning a run feeling thirsty is not a good start!
Jeff Galloway recommends drinking 2 to 4 ounces of water every two miles. For me, I’ve always listened to my body and drank when it told me to drink.
*Please note that all Amazon links shared throughout this post are affiliate links. This doesn’t cost you extra but does give me a small commission.
My favorite way to carry water is with the Fitletic Single Pouch Running Belt that can fit up to four detachable six ounce water bottles.
I’m not a big fan of carrying water in my hands, (usually, I hold tissues in each since it corrects my bad habit of holding my thumbs up,) but this summer, I’m trying out these niffy water straps that can be used for my BPA free bottles! My usual course has me running back the way I came, so I can easily hide empty bottles alongside the road to later collect.
There are lots of other great handheld bottles worth checking out, some of which offer extra storage such as these Nathan SpeedDraw Insulated Flask:
I’ve also heard great things about hydration packs such as the Nathan Vaporairess Hydration Pack. Not for me, but might be great for you!
Another tip for those who run in town or pass a convenience store on their route is to keep cash or a credit card in your running belt in case you need to stop in for hydration. Usually, I always keep a ten in my favorite belt in case I forget! Schools and parks often have water fountains that make refills easy as well.
And don’t forget the mailbox trick! I’ve often keep water or Gatorade bottles in a small cooler in our mailbox and then plan my route accordingly so I can stop for a refill. My favorite running trail also has a parking lot about midway through, making it super easy to refill … and also hit the port-o-potties!
Now, about electrolytes.
Water is fantastic, but you also need to keep your electrolyte count in check since your body both loses fluids and electrolytes when you sweat. There’s a great article over at Running Stats about proper balance in hydration as well as a great article about Sources of Electrolytes over at Livestrong.com.
For me, I’m a grape Gatorade G2 gal since I often have nausea issues while running and need to be cautious about what I drink. This summer, I’m also trying out Nuun tabs, (still can’t believe I’ve yet to do so,) since the tablets make it very easy to turn your water into electrolyte replacement.
For runs longer than ten miles in hot weather, I also take one SaltStick Cap, in order to keep my sodium level in check.
Otherwise, my visor often looks like this. Oh my.
Also, a quick FYI for those who get cramps while running, some athletes swear by mustard and are certain to carry a fast food pack on them! It’s possible this works because of the turmeric, what gives mustard its yellow color. I’ve yet to try this because … yuck, plus Gu gels, salt tabs, and Gatorade already do a good job of keeping my calves from cramping.
3.) Protect Thyself from the Sun
As someone who’s had her fair share of basal cell carcinomas removed … one of which had (and I quote) “The cancer level of a ninety-year-old farmer who’s been in the sun all his life” … and this was when I was twenty-four, I’m a stickler when it comes to sunscreen.
Wear it, folks. Seriously.
Before, I’ve always used chemical sunscreens such as Coppertone Sport or Neutrogena. Despite my best efforts, however, I always end up with sports bra tan lines. So this summer, I’m switching up my skin care strategy by wearing all-mineral sunscreens, especially since I’ve declared war on my sun spots by doing weekly skin peels, baiden mitten scrubs, dermabrasion, and using Retin-A on my face. I’m in the process of testing out several brands that are listed as one of the best sport sunscreens on EWG.org with a level one rating. I’ll be sure to share the results later!
Until then, always be sure to apply ample amounts of sunscreen fifteen minutes before your run … and when I say ample, I mean a shot glass worth for your entire body. Wash your face first, especially if you use anti-aging products at night such as Retin-A or retinol and apply at least 1/4 teaspoon, making sure to get the tips of your ears and your scalp if you have a side part. Ladies, if you’re wearing a tank top, go ahead and cover your stomach and back in case you decide to join the #sportsbrasquad during your run … which come on, is so much cooler!
Also, sunscreens perform best when they’re used within a six month period since chemicals can separate, so if you used yours last summer, it’s time for a new one. Oh and don’t forget your lips! A good lip balm with sunscreen will keep them protected as well.
I take skin protection one step further by wearing sun sleeves, seeing as how my arms always get the brunt of sun damage and sunscreen wears off on my inner elbow. My favorite are the Cool-Shop UV Protection Cooler Arm Sleeves since they’re a great price for six sleeves and they also give off this cooling effect on my arms, especially when a breeze hits them. This is not a replacement for sunscreen, however, just another line of defense.
Since my chest also takes a beating, (and has the most sun damage,) I often tuck a sweat rag underneath the straps of my tank top to give it extra coverage. When the sun hits the side of my face, I’ll also turn my visor to give better shade, or I’ll tuck my rag underneath to shade my cheek.
Do I look silly? Yes. Do I care? No.
4.) Dress for (Running) Success!
The rules for running attire is simple: Cotton? Bad. Light-colored breathable tech material that wicks moisture? Good. ‘Nuff said. For me, a visor is also a must since it shades my eyes and also soaks up sweat off my forehead, keeping sunblock from running in my eyes. A hat is okay, but unless it’s ventilated, it can trap heat and you have enough heat to deal with already!
If you’re not a fan of visors or hats, a headband such as the Bondi Band is good for absorbing sweat and keeping hair off your face.
Some brands also offer additional UV protection, such as the Buff UV Multifunctional Headband.
A good pair of running sunglasses is also a must. I wear Hobie’s that were a bit pricey … only because my husband didn’t need them any more after getting prescription sunglasses, but you can find ones at a reasonable cost. The Ironman brand at Target is very nice!
And after you’ve dressed, be sure to add on a generous dose of an anti-chafe product such as Bodyglide underneath your sports bra strap, short hems, below your arm pit, etc. For longer distances, I also run some on my heels as well as coat my toes with a light layer of Vaseline to prevent blisters!
5.) Be SMART!
If you feel dizzy or light-headed at any time during your run, STOP. Like, immediately. Your health is not worth risking just for a checked off training day! Also, don’t hesitate to make “The Call” if you find yourself in a pickle and beyond your comfort zone. I had to call my son once after foolishly not bringing enough water even though I only had two miles left to run. Better safe than sorry.
Also, if the heat index is reaching ridiculous levels, even for early morning, then please postpone your run for a day when it’s safer. Had I been writing this blog post a month ago, I would have recommended doing your run indoors on a treadmill … but seeing as how that could have been the cause of my nine month running injury, I’m hesitant. According to my doctor, even pricey treadmills with padded belts are more shocking than running on asphalt. Also, your striding is different since you’re keeping up with the belt rather than propelling yourself forward.
Of course, opinions on treadmills greatly differ. So I’ll just recommend that you use a treadmill as a backup and leave it at that.Summer #running can be a blast if you follow these tips to stay safe and comfortable! #werunsocial… Click To Tweet
So there you go, my top five tips for summer running! If you have any other great tips or product recommendations, I’d love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments below.
Until then, thanks for reading and have a joyful day!