As the weather heats up, here’s how to run comfortably.
In true fashion you can be sure to find the roads and parks lined with beginner and seasoned runners alike as soon as the sun so much as hints at an appearance. And with promises of a dose of vitamin D, a healthy sweat-out and some K’s in the bag, we’re here to encourage summer running. But as the weather heats up and we all get a little over-excited about soaking up our share of those sun rays, there are a few things to consider before you lace up and head out.
Don’t skip the warm-up
You’d be forgiven for feeling less in need of a proper warm-up when the temperatures are soaring and your body is already feeling pretty limber. Do one anyway. Prepping for your run isn’t just to raise your body temperature safely, it’s also a way to ensure your heart rate increases gradually, your joints are efficiently mobilised (hello, tight hips!) and of course, you’ve mentally primed yourself for the run to come. So not only will an extensive warm-up routine help to prevent injury, it’s also going to boost your performance.
Don’t forget sun protection
Depending on the duration of your run, it may well be the most time you spend outside all day. While the constant movement of a run can make it feel as though you’re not getting the same kind of sun exposure as you would if you were sunbathing, the reality is that whatever skin is on show is being exposed to the sun’s powerful rays for the entirety of your run.
Increased exposure to sunlight means increased chances of sunburn, which means increased risk of skin cancer. Opting for a sunscreen that is water and sweat-proof is a must for runners, while the SPF and UVA protection factor you go for depends on how long you’ll be exposed for. And while the lure of that golden glow might be drawing you in, just remember that there is no safe way to tan.
Do allow yourself to acclimatise
We all deal with heat in different ways, and you really don’t want to find out that you deal with it badly by experiencing a premature bonk out on a long run. Test out the waters with slightly shorter and less intense runs first if you’re less experienced with running, and aim to make gradual changes once you’ve seen how your body has responded. Make adjustments to your water intake, distance of your run and intensity of your sessions accordingly. Don’t forget to trust the process.
Don’t let yourself get dehydrated
Try to plan ahead and start hydrating from the start of the day if you know you’ll later be heading out for run. Not only will this lower your chances of dehydration but it’ll also ensure your performance is on point. Chances are you’ll be losing a lot more sweat than usual, too, so think about replenishing those lost electrolytes with a sports drink – the longer your run, the more you’ll need. And don’t forget to keep rehydrating once your run is over – especially if you’re planning to repeat the process the following day. Dehydration can creep up on you.