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Essential Hot Weather Running Tips

By , David F., SparkPeople Contributor

Some people loathe running in the hottest months of the year. For those springtime, fall and winter running enthusiasts, it might seem like a chore to survive a run during the searing summer heat. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate the sun exposure and make summer running an enjoyable experience.

Continue reading to learn all the essential tips you need to make summer running a successful venture.

Plan Your Run for Cooler Times in the Day

During the scorching summer months, it makes little sense to run at the hottest times of the day. Skip the afternoon run, and opt for an early morning run instead. Typically, running just before sunrise is the ideal time to get in a workout at the coolest part of the day.

Not only will this help you beat the summer heat, but you will also enjoy a surge of energy that carries you through the rest of your day.

Dress for Warm-Weather Running Success

To survive warm-weather months, you need to gear up appropriately. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing that gives your body and skin plenty of room. Couple your running attire with a hat that will keep your face shielded from UV rays and keep you cool at the same time.

Take Extra Care to Stay Hydrated

It should go without saying that staying hydrated during the summer months is essential. You may want to plan your running route around areas in your neighborhood with water fountains. Alternatively, take a sports drink with you since it has been shown that electrolytes are essential for keeping your body running optimally while exercising in extreme heat.

Protect Skin from Sun Exposure

For lifelong runners, few medical issues are more problematic than developing skin cancer, so it is imperative to protect skin on a daily basis. This is particularly true in summer, when the sun's UV rays are most potent. However, runners can take proactive steps to reduce the effects of sun exposure. Running in the morning will not only reduce the negative effects of summer heat, but it also reduces UV exposure.

For runners who enjoy running in the afternoon, be sure to protect your face and skin by utilizing a sunscreen with a strong SPF number. Also, as mentioned earlier, don't forget to wear a form of headwear that will protect your face from the sun's harmful rays.

Don't Be Afraid to Take Things Slow

Unless you are training for a marathon or athletic event, it may make sense to slow your pace during the summer heat. You will still be getting quality exercise in while respecting the formidable humidity and and heat.

Protect Yourself from Blisters and Chafing

Along with the possible dangers of dehydration and heat stroke, summer running increases the risk of blistering and chafing. It is no surprise that summer running increases the likelihood of sweating, and runners who sweat in their socks will increase the risk of rubbing and irritating their feet.

Opt for socks that allow for some foot movement within the shoe to circumvent this issue. Feet that can slip more will blister less. Additionally, consider purchasing a quality chafe stick to prevent chafing. Chafing is far from a feet only issue, so use the chafe stick liberally anywhere wet, sweaty skin is likely to rub up against sweaty fabrics.

Don't Forget the Treadmill!

While avid runners no doubt bristle over the idea of running on a treadmill, it can serve a purpose for runners wanting to avoid those 100-plus degree days. If early morning runs are out of the question and the afternoons are simply too hot for comfort, head to the gym and get in a quality run on the treadmill. While it isn't quite the same as running around the neighborhood, it will burn calories and keep you healthy all the same.

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