Hey, hey you guys! Guess what this weekend is! Only the best day of the year slash it’s kind of like Sunday because you’re dreading what comes after… you guessed it! Summer SOLSTICE! The longest day of the year!
YAS GIRL YAS. I am absoLUTEly a summer girl. It’s hot as Satan’s ballsack, sure, but y’all, that Vitamin D! That late sunset! The pool! Being able to drive places because there isn’t a foot of snow packed on the ground! YAS GIRL SUMMER YASSS!
This week’s Friday Five link up hosted by the always fantastic Cynthia @ You Signed Up for What?!, Mar @ Mar on the Run, and Courtney @ Eat Pray Run are pulling together the best ways to beat the heat during the best season of the year. Girl I am a MARYLANDER. Right outside of Washington, DC. That shit was built ON A SWAMP. It is humid as the condensation on your beer, bro, but I am not complaining. Because it is not winter. So as your friendly neighborhood Summer Lover, I’m linking up with these terrific linkup host ladies (who all know what I’m talking about with this DC humidity) to help you get through those extremely crucial summer runs.
You can’t skimp on running outside just because it’s hot, okay? Fall is coming, and fall PR’s are made in the summer, bitches. So get your notepad handy and strap yourself in for some STAYING COOL realness.
My personal favorite dream team of hydrating during a run is my Nathan handheld water bottle with the little side pocket for holding whatever I need (GU packets, my house key, extra NUUN tablets, etc.) and aforementioned NUUN in my water. Fill that sucker up with some cold water and some ice cubes, drop in two tablets of NUUN to hold onto those electrolytes for dear life (my personal favorite flavor is lemonade – it ACTUALLY tastes like sweet lemonade) and go!
For longer runs, I have been known to drive to a ways into my route and plant bottles of water along the route in random spots in the grass under the shade of trees to pick up along the way since ain’t no aid stations on a training run. And last summer I’d bring a dollar or two with me on a run and when I’d pass the 7-11 I’d stop for a water break. The last thing you need on a run is dehydration.
2. Hydrate BEFORE and AFTER
Possibly even more important than bringing water with you on the run is drinking water consistently throughout the day. Even if you’re not running, there is nothing better on a hot day than an ice cold glass of water. Hydrating consistently throughout the day keeps you from getting dehydrated when you’re out there sweating. I don’t know the science exactly, but I’ve experienced the proof.
I don’t know how beer runners do it, personally – beer dehydrates me faster than you can say “bartender, can I have another Blue Moon?” I generally drink very little alcohol in my life, so even though I’m a total Diet Coke junkie, I don’t have the added dehydrating factor of beer in my imbibing patterns. Figure out what works for you, but seriously – in this summer heat, your standard 64 oz a day of water is maybe the minimum. I mean don’t be the guy who dies from over-hydration, but still. Don’t let the water intoxication science scare you into going the opposite extreme. Everything in moderation- but if you’re anything like me, you probably have a beverage of choice that isn’t water (coffee, soda, beer) and don’t remember to drink actual water. Drinking it more might even help you kick that caffeine habit. Make sure you’re not just hydrating on the run itself. Enjoy that ice water. It’s summer, baby.
3. Wear protection from the sun
Some people prefer sunglasses, a lot of people use sunblock, all good things. I personally need the sun not beating down on my face when I’m running for too long. So while sunglasses may protect my eyes from having to squint in the run and sunblock protects my skin, nothing is worse than feeling the sun shine so hot on your face you can feel the skin burning before you even look in the mirror later. (Except winter. Nothing is worse than winter. All of winter.) Headsweats sells moisture-wicking ballcaps and visors and I’m telling you, they’re worth the investment.
When I ran the Brooklyn Half the sun was BRIGHT. I had run another half marathon two weeks before without a visor on, the whole race was brutal (albeit not just the sun part) and when I went to work that Monday all my coworkers asked if I’d been at the beach. (Nice, but no, I had been huffing and puffing through 13 miles. But the visor during Brooklyn made a huge difference in my state of mind. I was protected.
4. Run in the early mornings!
I’m not saying run in the pitch dark and get mugged or trip over a dead rabbit on the sidewalk you didn’t see. But I am saying that having run two mornings in a row now, I’m a big fan of the morning run. The sun’s heat reaches its peak between 12pm and 4pm, which means running between 5am-7am, before the sun really gets over the tops of the trees, you not only get a pretty decently cool moment of the day temperature-wise, but you also get to see the gorgeous sunrise.
And how good does it feel to know for the rest of the day you got your miles in? SO good. This one’s a game changer for me, guys.
5. Wear breathable, moisture-wicking fabric.
Not only does cotton’s ability to absorb moisture and keep it there mean chafing and blisters for you, which is no bueno, it also keeps all your sweat on your body while you try to expel that heat, and as soon as you’re back inside in the AC, it makes you freezing cold. So ditch it! Keep your cotton tees for your 30 minute elliptical cross-train or something, and invest in some moisture-wicking tech fabric. Make use of those race premiums, or give yourself a healthy excuse for a shopping spree – buy a few tech fabric tops to really save the day on a run.
Don’t trap your sweat. Let nature air you out. Let breathable fabric free your natural summer hot body, baby. 😉
So there you have it. Please don’t sue me, I’m not Dr. Oz and I don’t pretend to be a real doctor either. These are just the tips that have worked for me in sticking it out in summer runs. I ran outside every single run last summer, not once did I hit the AC and fans of the gym treadmill, and came back in the fall having shaved a minute per mile off my pace. Running in the summer heat, as long as you’re hydrated, breathing, and protected from the sun, will make you a stronger runner. So go out there and get it!
Happy summer solstice!