Summer’s coming, and so is the hot and humid weather. What should you wear when you run? How should you hydrate? Summer presents its own set of unique challenges for runners. Warm-weather running is heaven for some, and for others, it’s an inferno. Regardless of how you feel about running in the heat, it’s important to plan for it. Preparation includes the three W’s: water, wear, and when. Hydration, proper gear, and training strategies can keep you running in the summer despite its challenges.
Sweating is part of the body’s cooling system. However, excessive sweating without rehydrating can lead to fluid imbalances in your system. Proper hydration helps you maintain a balance between the fluid you take in and the fluid you sweat out. Plan your water stops by arranging to reach water fountains at the right times or by taking cash to buy water along the way. Sweat also contains sodium and other electrolytes, so if your run lasts longer than 60 minutes, be sure to replenish your electrolytes by using a sports drink instead of water.
Moisture-wicking clothing lets sweat evaporate from your skin, which prevents overheating. It can also prevent uncomfortable chafing that may occur with sweat-soaked clothes. A pair of breathable socks can prevent moisture buildup, which is one of the most common causes of blisters. A hat or visor, sunglasses, and waterproof sunscreen will also protect your skin from the sun.
Train early or train late. It’s best to run during the coolest times of the day, when the sun’s rays aren’t as harmful.
If you incorporate the three W’s into your training routine, you can enjoy running well into the dog days of summer!
Leigh-Ann Plack is a physical therapist with Hospital for Special Surgery’s rehabilitation department. She received her doctorate in physical therapy at Northeastern University. Her clinical interests include gait mechanics and running injuries. She is currently working on her doctorate in education in applied psychology at Columbia University.