Summer running is hard enough, but in the Houston area? “Brutal” is an understatement some days. The heat and humidity slow your runs, sometimes to what feels like a crawl. It’s all I can do to survive summer runs, when I usually slow my pace way down and just enjoy the scenery, the feeling of my muscles and tendons working together, and the sense of accomplishment when I’m done. Here are four of my tips for surviving summer runs.
Start as early as possible in the day, ideally before the sun becomes an angry fireball. I start running as soon as I can see the pavement under my feet – and I plan for this by calculating when twilight is. If you go to https://avcams.faa.gov/sunrise_sunset.php, enter in the latitude and longitude of your location, and select your time zone, it will tell you when twilight is so that you can make the most of those 30-40 minutes with a run.
Dress for the Weather
In the summer, modesty is not my friend. I wear a sports bra, shorts, and a lot of sunscreen because I do not need heat being trapped next to my skin with layers. I don’t like the feel of sweating into my clothes, and being able to feel a breeze on sweaty skin helps me survive summer runs – it’s a quick cool blast. But if you prefer to wear more clothing, look for fabrics that are designed for wicking moisture and keeping you cool.
If you want to survive summer runs, hydration is your friend. For shorter runs, I’ll bring along a water bottle with just cold water. For longer runs, I add ice or hydration powder, because replacing electrolytes lost in sweat is key.
Enjoy the Scenery
I’ve said before that summer isn’t the time to set new records. It’s the right time to build your base mileage for fall and winter training or to use the time as your “me” time. I’ll run some of my favorite (shady) routes and enjoy the scenery, maybe even stop and snap a picture of a flower or turtle or sunrise. (You’ll see those in my Instagram stories, btw!)
No matter what, make sure you listen to your body! If you’re feeling overheated, drink water and stop running. Otherwise, “survive summer runs” takes on a meaning that it absolutely shouldn’t.
Stay safe, stay hydrated, and wear your sunscreen!