Good Morning Boys and Girls!
As I’m sure those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere have noticed, it’s summer. As such, we’re having to deal with weather that is, in technical terms, sucky. It’s hot at lunch, and it’s sticky in the mornings and the evenings.
In short, it’s a wonderful time to be running.
Here are a couple of tips to consider to make the heat a bit more bearable:
- Move the runs to the ends of the day – Run early or run late. The temperatures and humidity may still be there, but at least you won’t have to deal with that mass of irradiated gas, the gigantic nuclear furnace known as the sun, which beats down with approximately 1 kilowatt per square meter of energy whenever it’s over the horizon.
- Hydrate – You can’t sweat if you don’t have water in your belly. The easiest way to judge if you’re well hydrated is to look at your pee. If it’s dark yellow or brown, make like a frat boy and “Drink, Drink, Drink!”
- It’s cool in the shade – Think about where you can run. Sure, the route along the beach is pretty, but it’s exposed to the sun. Maybe the route through the tree-lined neighborhood is better to maximize time in the shade. Or, maybe, God-Forbid, it’s time to hit the gym.
- Cross-Train – Cycling’s great – tons of airflow means tons of cooling. Plus, the Tour de France is coming up – you can have mental visions of weighing 135 and spinning majestically across France. Swimming – Man, what’s better than swimming in the summer? Or go non-traditional: paddling, backpacking, or scraping the paint off of my house and slopping up another coat (Note 1) can all get you that cardio workout that you’re looking for.
- Psychology - Remember, this, too, will pass.
- Clothing – As much maligned as it is, wet cotton is great at carrying away heat. Which, actually, is why it gets a bad rap. Dump a cup of water over your head before the run, and after. One of my earliest running memories is heading out with my ma and pa during summers in Michigan. When we’d get home, we’d all pull off our 70′s era tube socks, soak them in the hose, and sit around the front yard with a cool, wet, sock around our necks, pulling heat out of our veins. Lots of drinkin’ from the hose, too.
- Don’t Chafe - Run, don’t walk, down to your local sports emporium, and pick up a stick of Bodyglide or equivalent. You can’t un-chafe a nipple or thigh, so it’s best to take precautions. If you’ve chafed, you’ll understand. If not, please, please take my word for it.
- Race – Nothing better for motivation than knowing you’re not the only insane person running in this stew.
- Take it easy – The heat slows everyone down, slow runners most of all.
- Cut it short - Typical medical disclaimers apply – be careful in the heat, and know the signs of heat stress. Stop immediately when showing signs of heat exhaustion – headaches, dizziness, lighheadedness or fainting, weakness and moist skin, mood changes such as irritability or confusion, or upset stomach and vomiting.
Oh, and wear sunscreen. Skin cancer aside, having a sunburn puts more burden on your body’s cooling system.