1. Hydrate. It’s even more important to be hydrating before a run when it’s hot out because dehydration will zap you like a bug in a light bulb. Before really hot runs I eat some salt straight up. It’s like a tequila shot without the tequila. You just steal some of those little packets from Wendy’s and eat one before a long hot run. This isn’t for everyone but super salty sweaters like me, it can be clutch.
2. Dress for success. Light, moisture wicking clothes make all the difference in the summer months. If you’re like me and sweat like a fire hydrant at the smallest task in the summer, then sweat-wicking clothing is a must. If you find yourself getting blisters on your feet during the summer, you may even need moisture-wicking socks. They’re bound to cost more than normal socks (like all things running) but it’ll be worth it.
This doesn’t just mean getting out the shorts and tank tops. Finding a running hat or visor that is comfortable will help keep sun off your face. I like a hat because when it’s really hot I can wet the hat and I think it keeps me cool. Some people find hats make their heads hot, but there are some very light running hats out there that barely add weight but do add an extra barrier between your noggin and the blazing rays.
Don’t forget you sunscreen. Just because it might be overcast when you head out doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting hit with the rays. I always forget my sunscreen. Not only is it bad for my skin, but I get all kinds of weird tan lines. Don’t be like me.
Finally, an important part of my dressing routine in the summer is body glide. I use a brand called 2Toms Sports Shield which I love. In the summer, you’re wearing less and sweating more so you have more places that rub and chafe. I’m not just talking thighs, though they are the main chafing threat for me, think anywhere your skin is rubbing skin or fabric like your underarm if you’re wearing a tank.
3. Take it easy/ acclimate. Unless you’re a Heat Ninja, your first run (and usually your second and third too) is gonna suck a little. It takes your body a little time to get used to exercising in heat and humidity. This can be super discouraging, particularly when you’re new to running and its the first time it’s happened. Don’t beat yourself up! You’re out running instead of standing naked in front of the AC eating ice cream – you’re already winning!
4. Listen to your body. There are signs that your body is starting to freak out and they are important to pay attention to. As your temperature rises you may feel start feeling sick, weak, get cramps in your legs and/or stomach, feel tingly or get chills. These are signs to stop and cool yourself down right away. Walking for an interval and putting water on my head and neck help me cool down quickly. If your body keeps heating up you may start to feel dizzy and confused which are things you probably never want to feel, but particularly if you’re alone and six miles from home in the middle of a long run.
5. Hydrate. Did I already say this? As Katie always says, “Hydrate or DIE!!” I carry a hand held water bottle when I run; other folks do a hydration belt; some people have every water fountain memorized; and others hide water bottle along their course ahead of time if they drive the course first. Do what works for you, but make sure you’re getting the fluids in your body!