It takes me some time to adjust to running in the warmer temperatures but overall, I just love running this time of year!
There are certain adjustments I need to make to my routine though during the warmer months and factors I need to consider both when running and not running in order to survive summer as a runner.
1. Sun Exposure.
Running outdoors for prolonged periods of time in the summer really isn’t the best for the skin, even with sunscreen.
So what can we do to protect ourselves aside from finding a shadier path or running earlier or later in the day?
Choose Short Sleeves Instead of Tank Tops.
Run Swiftly short sleeve shirts offer me a drop more protection from the sun, protecting my neck, chest, back and shoulders, even better than a sunscreen can.
Since the material is sweat wicking, I am not hot and really don’t notice the difference between running in short sleeves instead of a tank.
It’s not that I don’t run in tank tops sometimes, I certainly do, but I usually save those for the really early morning runs when the sun isn’t totally up or if it’s a more cloudy kind of day.
If my run will be more than an hour, you can be sure I have short sleeves on though!
Okay so even with the short sleeve Run Swiftly shirts, I still need a good quality sunscreen on my face and exposed skin.
We must protect our skin from the harmful rays not just because of the skin cancer risks but to limit the signs of aging!
I have been using this SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense for years now and just bought a new bottle for this summer season. It’s perfect for anytime that you are outdoors but great for running too. Your skin will not break out from wearing it on your face while sweating!
Not all sunscreens are created equal which I talked about at length in my Sunscreen post from way back when.
Here is the sunscreen cheat sheet for you from that post as a summary of what you want/don’t want in your sunscreen.
Wear a Sunvisor
I don’t know how I used to run without a sunvisor! This lululemon sunvisor is extremely comfortable, washes well and blocks the sun from my face. I usually wear a headband underneath it as well to further keep the sweat away from my forehead too.
Sunvisors (or hats) really take a lot of the sun exposure away from the face helping you to stay a bit cooler. I don’t run with sunglasses but I do find that wearing a sunvisor allows my eyes to relax and not squint to see < – squinting can cause those crow’s feet wrinkles around the eye area. We don’t want that!
Limit sun exposure following my run
This applies for me mainly after long runs in the summer. I learned that I DO NOT do so well sitting by the pool or even the beach after a long run in the hot and humid weather.
My body can only handle so much heat and sun exposure. Too much sun after a hard workout makes me feel dizzy, dehydrated and uncomfortable. If I do happen to go to the beach after a long run, I try to give myself a couple of hours after my run to spend time indoors in the air conditioning and then once outside again, I seek out the shade as much as possible (under an umbrella).
2. My Feet.
Slightly ironic that I started drafting this post last week before I almost hurt my foot! We runners always need to take extra care of our feet but I find this holds even more true in the summer.
Summer means flip-flops, wedges and pretty sandals. While I will never give up my pretty summer shoes, these types of footwear may not always be the best choice.
The less supportive nature of flip-flops and sandals can do a number on our feet and toes, as well as affect our posture causing back pain and other joint pain, all of which may impact how we run the next day or, even worse, cause us to walk weird and risk injury.
I try to wear extremely comfortable flip-flops, choose wedges or heels only when necessary and opt for sneakers when I am doing a lot of leisure walking.
If I am going to the mall, as much as I want to wear my flip-flops, I go with an old pair of running shoes instead. It’s not worth hurting my feet by walking in poorly supportive footwear which may in turn affect/hurt my next run.
I also make sure to rotate the flip-flops and sandals that I wear each day, just like I rotate my running shoes.
Other ways I care for my feet in the summer:
- Coconut Oil – Coconut Oil is the best moisturizer and softens calluses almost immediately. Just slather your feet with coconut oil before bed, put on a good pair of comfy socks that you can sleep in and then take them off in the morning when you wake up. You will notice immediately how soft your feet now are!
- Frequent Pedicures – I do get regular pedicures throughout the year but in the summer, I make sure to really stay on top of those appointments.
- I RARELY Walk Barefoot – You will never see me without shoes on outside unless I am at the beach or have my feet on a lounge chair at the pool. Even at the beach, if I am walking in the sand, most of the time, I have sandals on! I refuse to take a chance that I may step on something dangerous, step wrong because there’s nothing supporting my feet. Walking barefoot (unless indoors on carpeting) can also irritate the skin, the bottoms of your feet and possibly cause calluses and rough spots that wouldn’t necessarily happen had you had shoes on in the first place.
3. Fueling & Hydration.
As you know, I almost always have some oatmeal with banana before I run, but it’s the ratios of each that I tend to play with on any given day.
Lately I find that heating up a bowl that contains a higher ratio of mashed banana to a smaller amount of oatmeal until it’s good and soupy works really well for me for quicker warm weather digestion. I also make sure to add a pinch of salt to my oatmeal to help increase my blood volume/retain water a bit better during my run which also helps my low blood pressure, often triggered in the heat.
For Long Runs:
- I can tolerate my Hammer Gels but I take smaller bites at a time because sometimes the heat can mess with my stomach and what I can handle comfortably.
- I leave water outside in case I get thirsty. Most of the time during the year, I do not drink while I run which probably isn’t smart but it’s the truth.
- Sometimes the heat and humidity can take away our post-run appetite even more than usual but we must make sure to refuel as quickly as possible in order to get our electrolytes back to balanced while also getting a jumpstart on repairing our muscles through protein and carbohydrates.
- I have noticed that after long runs or really hot runs, I cannot tolerate caffeine in coffee and sometimes, decaf bothers me too. This usually only happens in the summer so I try to avoid drinking coffee with my post-run meal. It’s a little hard to do since I am so used to having coffee post-run but I know it’s necessary for me to feel my best. After a few hours and a lot of water, sometimes I can drink some coffee again comfortably.
Once again, I started this post before the foot doctor told me that I need to be drinking more water to ensure that I am hydrated enough for my activity level (to prevent cramps).
I have been refilling my giant Islanders cup like a champ ever since last week and definitely feel an overall positive difference.
Most people who know me personally are shocked when I can say I don’t drink enough water because I really do drink a lot, in fact, it’s the only beverage I drink (aside from coffee).
But, my activity level really does require more which is something I fail to realize, especially in the summer.
- Watermelon is a terrific food source for hydration as it is made up of over 90% water content along with a good balance of important electrolytes. As I have said in the past, I love watermelon for quenching my thirst because water cannot always do it for me!
- I do have Nuun tablets in the house but I honestly don’t love them. If you have a good electrolyte drink that you like, please let me know which it is!
Consider Reading: Electrolytes for Runners: The Definitive Guide
Laura has an ecourse available on mastering your fueling and hydration which looks super informative. I consider registering for her ecourse because as much as we know, we don’t know everything and can always benefit from reading and learning even more about our health, running and nutrition.
Of Possible Interest:
I hope that how I go about surviving summer as a runner encourages you to think about what adjustments you need to make to your summer running routine!How I Survive Summer as a Runner #summer #running #hydration #summerrunning #fitfluential Click To Tweet
How do you adjust your running routine in the summer?
Please tell me which water bottle you like to take along with you during the day!
Which sunscreen do you use?