1. Go early! I am up with the sun- if not sooner. The coolest time of day is just before the sun rises, so you want to bank on that, particularly if you’re in the 110’s and it’s only June. We’re talking like before 6:00 you need to be up and at ’em. It’s hard to get up, but it’s worth it, and I’m glad I do it every time and regret when I don’t every time. That’s why you are missing me neighbors, I’m home before you leave the house in the hot months!
2. Sunglasses and a hat are a must. The sun beats down extra hard during the summer, and the squinting can lead to headaches and eye strain. You need these during hot runs even if it’s dark when you’re leaving.
BEFORE THE RUN
3. This one has to do with before the run prep. Before you go make sure you put on sunscreen. I know that’s like a no-brainer, but sometimes when it’s dark and you’re groggy it’s easy to forget.
4 Also pre-run prep, you need some extra vitamins when long distance running and the sun is pounding it out of you. Magnesium is my best friend all summer. It helps with a lot of things, but particularly bone and muscle functions, including headache prevention. When you bend your head to block out the sun you’re more prone to neck pain and tension headaches, so you need this all the more in the summer! Not to mention the sweat that comes and extra loss during the hot season. And can I throw in my 2-cents for metabolism and energy- magnesium has helped tremendously with both!
5. take an electrolyte or sodium tablet. The loss of electrolytes while running, combined with the extra sweating means you need extra help. Heat stress is reduced by planning ahead!
And a side note- I usually buy these separate, but on my last trip to Walgreens I found this awesome bottle that sells both together. One less thing to worry about and one less pill to swallow (literally- hey so that’s where that saying comes from!) .
*Side note- they have tons of vitamin/mineral options at Walgreens, and since I literally run right by one on my long run days, they’re a great place to stop and get everything I need to support my runs at a good deal.
DURING THE RUN
7. If you’re going more than three miles, bring some ice water. Sip it throughout the run.
8. If sprinklers are on, run through them! Be careful not to damage any electronics. But seriously, a little splash of water can make all the difference to cool you down.
9. Wear light socks. This will help with ventilation on the feet, and keep you a little cooler.
AFTER THE RUN
10. Right when you get home be sure to drink a lot of ice water to cool down. However, to balance out the ice water and not throw off you pH balance too much, make sure you get a beverage with electrolytes too. I try to go as natural as I can, so coconut water, Vitamin Water, or Smart Water are all good choices for me.
11. Stretch! Not just your legs, make sure to do some downward dog to loosen up your upper body. Pinch your shoulders together while you’re in it for extra stress relief. I swear this is one of the keys to avoiding a migraine after some heat exposure. Just a few seconds does the trick!
12. After the shower grab some Neck & Shoulder rub and massage a small amount onto the neck and shoulder area. This helps relax the muscles that feel extra strained by the heat. You can also use essential oils for this, same benefits in a more natural way. The Tiger Balm is just convenient and I found a great deal on it at Walgreens.
13. Keep some Band-aids around for blisters. My shoes are well broken in, but because feet swell so much more when it’s hot, you may experience some rubbing. Band-aids are a life saver in keeping your feet healthy. If this is a big problem you may want to look into going up a size in your shoes.
14. Jump in a pool or a cooler shower after the run. Heat escapes through your head, and cool water helps you stop heat stroke. In AZ almost everyone has a pool, so that’s an easy option. If you’re like me and don’t, look for a cool shower or at least run your head under cool water in the sink.
I know these may sound a little extreme and funny, but really, when your body likes to run long distances in 50 degree weather, getting into the 90’s and 100’s is a tough thing. I swear when I do all of the above I’m able to have a healthy, happy run even even the hot Arizona summer.
Anything I missed? Any tips you have that help you survive the heat on a run?