For those of us who love running, summer is a special time because the days are longer, meaning we have more time and opportunity to get outside. Of course, with more opportunities to run, we are also sometimes more likely to overdo it, making us susceptible to injury. That’s why it’s important to follow a few guidelines when running during the summer. These tips will help you run longer, further, and most importantly with fewer injuries.
The single most important thing you can do for yourself when running in summer is to hydrate properly. We can’t stress this enough, which is why we recently wrote about staying hydrated [link to other post]. That means not only bringing a bottle of water with you when you run, but also drinking enough water throughout the day. We also recommend staying away from sports and energy drinks, as they don’t always help you stay hydrated and often contain other ingredients that aren’t very healthy.
Get Used To The Heat
Plunging in for a long run during the height of summer heat is a recipe for fatigue and possibly injury. If you want to do longer runs, it’s a good idea to let your body get more acclimated to the heat. That means going for a few shorter, easier runs a few days before any longer, more challenging ones.
Mix Up Your Routine
One of the things we have to be wary about during summer is running when it’s excessively hot. On particularly hot days, it’s best not to try to over-exert yourself in order to avoid things like heat stroke. Instead, try running earlier in the morning or later in the evening before it gets too hot. Additionally, you may consider running slower and shortening your runs on days when the temperatures are higher than normal.
Protect Your Skin
The sun’s rays are extra strong in summer, and it’s a good idea to protect yourself from their harmful effects when you go running. In addition to applying sunscreen, look for shadier places to run on your routes. Not only will this protect your skin, but the temperature might be a few degrees cooler!
Wear The Right Clothes
It’s essential to always wear clothes that are comfortable, breathable, and loose-fitting. That means wearing things that are made of moisture-wicking synthetic materials. Avoid clothes made of cotton, as well as darker colors, which absorb more heat. Additionally, consider wearing a bandana or headband to help cool off your head and keep sweat out of your eyes.
Don’t Forget To Recover Safely!
Maximizing your recovery right after a run (or any strenuous workout) is essentially to maintaining fitness. Be sure to hydrate, of course, but you might also want to spend some time in our infrared sauna to help reduce muscle inflammation, joint pain, and other effects of summertime running.
Schedule an appointment with one of our sports medicine specialists, who can help you ensure you get the most out of your runs while reducing the risk of injury.
Please call Pain and Spine Specialists in Maryland at 301.703.8767, or 724-603-3560 in Pennsylvania to schedule a consultation or use the contact form on our website to send us a message.