We’re slap-bang in the middle of Summer, and unless you’re running early in the morning or the evening — chances are you’re running right under the scorching sun. Generally, runs done in the heat tend to be harder and take a lot out of you… there’s a reason for this.
Biokineticist Travis Michelson says that it has to do with the fact that your body is working a lot harder than it would in cooler weather.
“The main reason running in the heat feels a lot more difficult is because your body is hard at work trying to cool your core body temperature down,” he says. “Therefore, you have less blood flow that would go towards all your other muscles and this affects your cardiovascular system raising your heart rate and causes your blood vessels to dilate.”
We asked him to offer quick and easy tips to make running in the sun more survivable:
“It’s extremely important to be already be hydrated by the time that you start your run,” Michelson says.
It’s recommended that you drink about 500ml of water 2 hours before you go out and then just one glass 15 minutes before you hit the road.
2/ Hydrate… but not only with water
Michelson explains that, just like any other run, it’s essential to keep hydrated throughout but you should be careful of over-hydrating. And water shouldn’t be your only friend on the road.
“You will lose a lot of sodium because of the excessive sweating and a common error that people make is to replace that with just water where instead they should alternate between water and sodium-rich drinks such as sports drinks,” he says. “Drinking water only leads to overhydration and your electrolyte balance diminishes and you actually fatigue quicker.”
3/ Running Gear
Make sure that your running gear is lightweight and loose-fitting.
“If you can, invest in something like a cooling shirt which absorbs your sweat and uses it to help bring your body temperature down,” Michelson says.
4/ Wear a cap
Michelson advises wearing a cap when going for a run in the sun, and preferably a cap specifically designed for exercise.
“Caps help absorb the sweat running down from your head so that you don’t have it running into your eyes,” he says. “Caps made for exercise are designed to dry quicker and often have mesh insets that allow for the ventilation.”
5/ Protect your skin
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!
“While wearing sunscreen is a given, people do sometimes need a reminder that protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays is extremely important,” Michelson says.
Chances are, because of the heat, you’ll be wearing less clothing and most of your skin will be exposed. Make sure all of the exposed skin is covered including your ears, face, neck.