Summer is a special time for running and overall exploring. Beautiful, sunny days are perfect for lacing up and pounding pavement or braving beautiful, bright trails. However, these sunny miles also come with a few complications, like extreme heat and sun exposure.
We connect with experts to chat through the safest way to transition from spring to summer running:
It’s important to load up on SPF year-round, even if the forecast doesn’t call for sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can pass through clouds. “Those hot summer rays beating down on your skin can easily cause a sunburn if you’re out on a long run,” says Chrissy Carroll, USAT Level I triathlon coach. “Be sure to lather up in sunscreen before-hand and reapply at least hourly.”
BEAT THE HEAT
The last thing you want during the summer months is to tackle that run during the warmest part of the day. Instead, Brian Eckenrode, DPT, associate professor of physical therapy and director of the Arcadia University Running Injury Clinic, urges runners to consider early morning or late-evening runs to avoid running at peak heat and humidity.
It goes without saying your sweat rate is much higher in prime summer than it is in winter or spring. That means you need to have a hydration strategy before, during and after your runs, says Eckenrode. “For longer or more intense runs, make sure to have access to water along your route or between intervals,” he says. “Runners can lose between 6–12 ounces of fluid for every 20 minutes of running.”
Eckenrode suggests drinking 10–15 ounces of fluid 10–15 minutes prior to running and then drinking fluids every 20–30 minutes during your run.
Recovery is important at all times of year, but it’s super critical during the summer thanks to excess fluid loss. “The heat can really tire you out,” says Sarah Booth of Noldi Healthylife Coaching. “Take some time after your long run to rest and take a nap. Don’t rush on to the next thing. Keep drinking fluids to make sure you are recovered and ready for your next run.”
INCREASE VOLUME GRADUALLY
Like altitude, warmer temperatures take some time for the body to get used to. That means don’t go out of the gate trying to do too much too soon. “Take it slow,” suggests Carroll. “It’s OK (and suggested!) to knock a little time off your pace
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Don’t push the envelope toward injury. Heat-related illnesses can range from cramping to the more serious, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke requiring immediate medical attention. If you feel symptoms of heat exhaustion or stroke, which Eckenrode highlights as chills, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid or slowed heart rate, seizures or drenching sweats with cold, clammy skin or a decrease in sweating with hot, flushed, dry skin — seek immediate medical attention.