Running is a great form of exercise because it doesn't rely on other people or equipment. It is a form of exercise you can do in all seasons, in any country and at any time. It's so flexible! It doesn't rely on a common language or any particular terrain. Not many sports can be so accommodating.
However, while the sunshine may inspire us to get out more, there are some factors you should consider before, during and after running in the hot weather.
1. Temperature Watch
Pay attention to heat alerts! The level of humidity also plays a part in causing heat exhaustion.
If the weather is too hot for safe exercise you could try heading to an indoor gym or go for a swim. There are a number of benefits to cross-training to improve general fitness and to keep your whole body strong and agile.
2. Run for Cover
What you wear in the heat is just as important as what you wear in the cold weather.
Always use a waterproof sunscreen to reduce the risk of sunburn which can lead to skin cancer.
A hat of some sort will protect your eyes and head from the direct sun and may be nicer than sunglasses which can increase the accumulation of sweat on your face.
Wear clothing that covers your skin, where appropriate, to avoid sunburn on longer runs. There's no better protection than prevention! On balance, you may like to wear cool shorts rather than leggings, especially on a longer run.
Good quality running gear should wick away excess sweat so you don't get dragged down by the weight of heavy fabric. KYMIRA Sport have a range of long and short sleeve infrared performance sportswear to suit your personal preference while helping your body regulate temperature.
3. Fluid Balance
You may not realise it but your body has to work harder to pump blood around your body when you are dehydrated. You may also feel dizzy, sick or have muscle spasms and cramps if your fluid levels are too low.
Something else you may not know is that it takes up to 3 days to fully hydrate and top up your electrolytes [also present in food]. A good indicator is pale yellow urine colour.
Drinks containing electrolytes and carbohydrate can help sustain your fluid balance throughout your exercise.
If you tend to sweat a lot you may benefit from consuming more sodium before you race to prompt your body to take in more fluid [to balance the sodium levels again].
Try weighing yourself before and after exercise to find out how much fluid you have lost. This can help you plan how much to drink for your next workout session.
4. Avoid Midday
Getting outside early or late in the day will allow you to avoid the hottest temperatures and may make it easier to perform at your best. It may seem obvious but remembering the middle of the day is the hottest time can also ensure you don't get sunburnt!
5. Personal Fitness Level
Be sensible and start slowly on a hot day. It depends on the length of the run as to how much energy to conserve, but it's better to start slowly and build up your pace than to have an explosive start and end up being a medical emergency.
It's worth mentioning that if you are unsure of your fitness level it may be harder to gauge how hard to push yourself in the hot weather.
A personal trainer will help you establish your threshold level which is when it becomes uncomfortable but you still feel in control. This would be and 8 or 9 out of 10, or 80-90% of your capability.
If you know how hard to push yourself on a mild day you will find it easier to adjust your pace and distance to suit the warmer weather.
6. Don't Mind the Time
Wherever you are in the world, it's important to know that increased temperature naturally slows your pace.
In the heat, start slower and adapt your goals to reflect your effort, strength and endurance, rather than your speed.
7. Buddy Up
Running is a great way to meet new people who have similar values and who can motivate you to keep going when the going gets tough. It's also good to have another person around when the weather is extreme. If anything were to go wrong, it's good to have someone to help. Remember safety in numbers
Always consider your recovery making sure you have a plan for what happens after the finish line. Recovery following longer runs and marathons, should include active and passive forms.
Read our previous blog on Marathon recovery
Consider all these tips and you will be top of your game ready to face the challenge of your race. The harder you push yourself the more care you need to take.
Over to you
Have you recently got the running bug? Share your story and tips or subscribe to the KYMIRA Sport Community.
Read how marathon Runner Ian Whitehouse suffered groin strain and then recovered in time to run the London Marathon all within 5 weeks https://www.kymirasport.com/blogs/news/112687748-it-s-marathon-season-don-t-risk-any-silly-injuries
For tips on what to wear during and after running click here https://www.kymirasport.com/blogs/news/how-sportswear-can-improve-your-overall-performance-and-recovery