Summer is the best time for outside activities. It stays light later, and there’s less of a chance you’ll be rained on. For runners, these are the best conditions to bump off a couple of miles. However, the summer comes with its danger as well: heat. Exerting yourself during the hottest season of the year can be uncomfortable, unhealthy and dangerous, and a few precautions can go a long way. Here are a few tips for keeping safe during the worst of the summer heat:
1. Run at Night/In the Morning
Wake up early or stay out until the sun is going down. Both times of day will have lower temperatures and, therefore, less chance of heat exhaustion or other dangerous health conditions. Plus, waking up early will give you an awesome energy boost to get through your day.
2. Drink Lots of Water
This one should go without saying. If you don’t like carrying a water bottle while you are running, make sure you run at a location with water available in drinking fountains or otherwise. Dehydration, which is easily preventable, causes many heat-related illnesses.
3. Run in the Shade
If you usually run in an open area — a field or street, for instance — instead look for a route with trees or buildings that provide shade. More shade means a cooler run, and a cooler run means less chance of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Of course, wearing a light-colored hat or visor can keep the worst of the sun off your head and provide your face with a little personal patch of shade.
4. Wear Sunscreen
Sunburns are bad to begin with, and they’re downright agonizing while you are running, and there is nothing to distract you from them. Wearing sunscreen will help protect you from burning, and putting aloe on any previous burns before running will also keep the pain at bay.
5. Wear Light Colors
Dark clothes absorb the sun’s heat much more than light-colored clothing. The difference is the most noticeable during the summer. Wearing light colors will keep you cooler and running longer than darker, heavier clothing.
6. Slow Down
Take a little longer running when it’s hot out. You won’t push your body as hard under already-stressful conditions, and you’ll avoid exhausting yourself partway through the run.
We all love running, but avoiding the heat — and finding better ways to deal with it when unavoidable — is a necessity during the hot summer days. Using these precautions will help you run happier and healthier through the summer.