Amongst runners, summer is the preferred season for starting to run or improving running skills. Regardless of your experience or training, if you want to be in good shape while running, it is essential to remove body heat and not absorb too much "heat energy" while exercising.
Follow our 10 tips for running in warm weather:
1. Get your body used to the heat.
Lay out a running training plan which will prepare you for the summer heat. The spring is an ideal season, featuring more and more sun each day. Follow a training programme that lasts at least several weeks depending on your level.
2. Run in shady spots and run at the coolest points of the day
If you want to avoid being subjected to the strongest heat of the day, run early in the morning (before leaving for work) or in the evening when you come home. Seek out shady spots (parks, forest paths, etc.). Your body will gradually become accustomed to the heat.
3. Shorten your warm-up
In the summer, you can warm up for a shorter period of time than in winter. Because of the temperature, your muscles warm up more quickly. Modify your warm-ups based on the temperature and the way your body feels.
4. Wear loose, breathable garments
When you go for a run, always wear loose, breathable clothing. When you exercise in warm weather, your body can get cold more easily. Summer running apparel is ideally constructed for warm weather. The technical materials used in these garments wick away sweat and help funnel heat away.
5. Cool down your body before you set out and during your run
Before you head out, you can cool your body down by taking a lukewarm shower. This will lower your body temperature, and is especially effective if you are running in the evening after a day at work. If you are too hot during your run, dampen your clothes and wet your hair.
6. Drink enough liquids before and during your run
This is key for a good workout!
No matter the season, runners should always think about hydration not only during their runs but also when they are not training.
In fact, during exercise, you are not fully hydrated. Your body needs to be well-hydrated before you start exercising.
Important: don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. A feeling of thirst is already an indication of a loss of 1% of your body's liquids, which is equivalent to a 10% loss in physical ability. To be in peak shape, drink small sips of water approximately every ten minutes.
Remember: during a long or intense run in hot weather, your body loses not only water but minerals. You need to make up for lost electrolytes in order to maintain your endurance levels by drinking an isotonic, carbohydrate-packed energy drink (approx. 50 g per l of carbohydrates).
7. Wear a cap
Wearing a cap is key for protecting yourself from the sun's rays. It also helps body heat be evaporated through your head (by means of perspiration).
8. Protect your skin and your eyes from the sun
The biggest problem with the sun is that it burns! Protect your face, arms and legs by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF (minimum 20).
Just like the rest of your body, your eyes are subject to the intense rays of the sun. When running, wear the sunglasses that are right for your eyes. This will help prevent headaches and visual problems.
9. Don't overestimate your abilities. At the first signs of heat stroke, stop exercising!
Heat stroke can have serious consequences for your health. The heat and humidity play the most important role in raising your body temperature. Every runner should know how to recognise the first signs of heat stroke (nausea, dizziness, headaches, disorientation, serious fatigue, etc.) and should immediately stop running and move into the shade.
10. When you get back home, let your body temperature gradually return to normal.
Do not shower immediately after exercising. Your body temperature needs to gradually return to normal. Instead, spray water on yourself and drink a high-carbohydrate drink to replenish your energy.
The heat and winter sun are good for the body as a whole, but can also be dangerous if you do not follow appropriate precautions during your run. A wide variety of measures will help to protect you from the sun and cause body heat to evaporate or prevent it from being absorbed. Remember to protect yourself, drink beverages consistently and keep your body cool.
Sun protection, hydration and prevention: The keys to running in the summer!