Running is all the rage, even when the summer heat swelters, and you can bet that runners will still be pounding the pavement and competing in 5ks, marathons, and other racing events in the middle of summer. It’d be nice if there really was a chill pill.
Until one comes along, here’s 8 summer workout safety tips for runners (or other outdoor athletes) trying to acclimate to soaring temps and dangerous heat indexes.
1. Work out early in the morning
If you must run outside, early morning is the safest time of the day.
If you’re new to exercising outdoors, let your body get used to the heat slowly. Take 15-minute walks outside for 4-14 days — by that time, your body will be far more able to cope with extreme heat and you can ease into full workouts.
3. Drink lots of water
Even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink at least 8 ounces of fluid each hour, and more if you sweat a lot. You’ll run better and feel better with adequate fluid intake, plus you’ll improve your body’s cooling mechanisms.
4. Go light and loose
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. The former will reflect the sun’s rays better, and the latter will enable you to take advantage of any breeze, including the one you make by running.
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5. Use sunscreen
Not only will it protect you from skin damage, but it can decrease your skin and body temperatures as well.
6. Start your run slowly
The slower you start, the longer you’ll keep your body heat from reaching the misery threshold. If you normally run at an 8-minute mile pace, for example, do your first mile at a 10-minute pace.
7. Run near water
If you can run close to a river, lake, or ocean, you’ll find that it’s typically cooler and breezier.
8. Heed your body’s warning signals
In hot weather, you need to be very sensitive to the warning signs of heat stroke, which can be fatal. Stop running immediately if you feel a headache or intense heat buildup in your head; confusion or lack of concentration; loss of muscular control; hot and cold flashes; or an upset stomach, muscle cramps, vomiting or dizziness.