Are these high summer temps delivering a low blow to your running or walking plans? Here we’ll share our best tips, the latest scientific knowledge base regarding proper hydration, and the “best practices” we’ve refined through years of coaching and running the =PR= Distance Training Program (DTP) during the summer months. With some smart preparation and attention to hydration and recovery, you can beat the heat.
Our Best Tips for Summer Running and Walking:
- Set Realistic Expectations. From a physiological standpoint, “pushing your boundaries” is not going to agree with the body on an abnormally hot weather day. Instead, slow your pace a bit and focus on your run form, your internal dialogue and mental toughness, and use your hot weather session to stay motivated and inspired for when more favorable weather eventually arrives. You may find yourself looking back fondly on your hot training sessions and gain mental strength from them.
- Dress Appropriately. This may seem like an obvious tip, but making sure the fabrics and materials in your run clothing, socks, and sports bra are built for optimum cooling and can help you “wick away” moisture on the run is a must. It will make a measurable difference in your performance, comfort and safety during hot summer activities. Remember the old adage, “cotton kills,” as in full cotton clothing will simply absorb your perspiration and make you uncomfortable.
- Sip, Sip, Sip… All Week! Don’t begin thinking about hydrating right before you take off to train in the heat. Good hydration begins with a good set up in the days leading up to your run. Ensure you are drinking plenty of water and electrolytes, eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet and getting proper rest to aid in your body’s ability to endure the heat. Keep a sports bottle with you and remember to top off frequently.
- Fuel Properly. For runs or walks under 60 minutes in duration, you can rely on cool water to drive your effort. Your body will tap into its stored glycogen to fuel your session. Anything more than this, and you’re going to need to pack along some “mobile nutrition” in the form of gels, blocks, bars, sports drink, or other products to provide optimum energy. One of our new products at =PR=, UCAN, is a new take on sports performance hydration and carbohydrate nutrition powered by SuperStarch. SuperStarch is healthy, natural and gluten-free. It’s a complex carbohydrate derived from non-GMO corn that uniquely stabilized blood sugar and causes virtually no reaction from the fat storage hormone insulin.
- Carry It With You. In the heat, even shorter distance runs and walks warrant carrying water or sports drink with you. Consider our full lineup of products from Nathan that allow you to comfortably carry beverages and nutrition on the run. It’s great peace of mind knowing you have what you need in the heat.
- Wear a Road ID. In the event that you need assistance on the run, wearing a Road ID wristband or shoe attachment containing your most important medical information is a smart idea. This inexpensive piece of equipment can save your life. Let others know when you are about to exercise in the heat. And ask any of our =PR= staff members for more details on how to secure your own Road ID.
- Recover Right. A vigorous run or brisk walk deserves and equally vigorous recovery. Complete your post-run stretching routine, take in some quality protein or recovery drink, and then employ one of the more popular and effective techniques to help you cool off and begin the recovery process. Consider dipping into an ice or cold water bath for about 10-15 minutes. Sure, it may feel “hard core” to step into an icy tub after a hard workout, but your legs will thank you.