Just as running in the Winter months comes with it’s own sets of challenges, so do Summertime runs. However, running in the Summer season comes with many perks and health benefits that you likely don’t want to miss out on. Use this Summer running guide to aid you in your running efforts this season and help you perform and recover well!
Benefits of Running in the Summer
Running in the Summer season offers a multitude of health benefits, including ones that you can’t reap in the colder, darker months! Here are just a few to note:
- Exposure to Sunlight- Being exposed to the sunlight helps boost your vitamin D levels and regulates your circadian rhythm. As a result, you’ll likely sleep better and feel more rested.
- Cardiovascular Training- Summer runs offer the same cardiovascular benefits as any cardiovascular exercise, like improved heart function, reduced risk of chronic heart disease, weight loss, and more.
- Detoxification through Sweating- Without a doubt, the Summer season equals a sweatier run. Sweating more during your run helps detox your body of toxins and waste. However, anytime you sweat (especially in excess), it’s important to always re-hydrate your body with water and electrolytes!
- Mood Boost- Being outside in nature and sunshine is a natural mood boost, thanks to a spike in happy hormones, like serotonin. Next time you’re feeling down, you can count on an outdoor Summer run to lift your spirits.
Your Summer Running Guide
Even if you’re an avid runner, running outside in the Summertime is another kind of beast. It’s important to know and be aware of best practices for running in the Summer season. Here are the best ways to prepare:
- Before Your Run
Before setting off on your run, check the heat index and map out your path. Look for trails near water and trees for cooler running conditions and less car traffic. In the days and hours leading up to your run, hydrate well with water, sea salt, and electrolytes.
When it’s time to get going, be sure to prepare with appropriate clothing, like lighter colors, breathable fabrics, etc. Also, don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Bonus: avoid running mid-day when the sun is at it’s highest point and temperatures are the hottest.
- During Your Run
Never skip your warm-up, even in the warm Summer months. It’s important to always get your muscles primed and prepped before any activity. When it’s especially hot out, be willing to adjust your expectations. Ditch your running watch and run according to effort. Your performance might look different during Summer and that’s okay. Always listen to your body and pay attention to any unusual sensations, like dizziness, headaches, or muscle weakness.
Hydration is key, so be sure to bring water and electrolytes with you. If you’re running a far distance, you might consider bringing a small snack, too. Bonus: consider asking a friend to run with you. After all, running is always more fun with a buddy- human or dog!
- After Your Run
Immediately after your run, allow yourself to cool down and let your heart rate recover. Once back home, take a cool shower or jump in the pool to help your body cool off. Grab an electrolyte drink (like NUUN or LMNT) or water to rehydrate properly. The amount of fluid you should consume post-run depends on your “sweat rate,” or how much fluid you lost. Determine your “sweat rate” by weighing yourself before and after an hour of exercise, while keeping track of how many fluid ounces you consumed during that hour. Every pound lost equates to 16 ounces of lost fluid. Rehydrate accordingly.
Within 30-60 minutes of your run, replenish your body with nutrients and calories. A nutrient-dense meal will encourage quick recovery. Also, note: running in heat will leave you feeling more exhausted than normal. Plan to rest as much as you need.
Depending on where you live and the weather climate, Summertime running can be exceptionally beautiful, enjoyable, and beneficial. But, it does offer a unique set of challenges, like heat and humidity. Use this guide to support your running efforts in a safe and effective way.
If you’re new to running in general, and are looking for more running guidance, click here.