9 Long Run Survival Strategies for Summer
Try these tactics to survive long summer runs and by the time temperatures drop, you'll be ready for the starting line.
Adjust Your Sleep Schedule1 of 10
Wake up early or turn into a night owl. It's no secret that the middle part of the day is the hottest, so it's best to avoid running then. Set your alarm extra early and try to log your miles before mid-morning.
Not a morning person? If you've got access to a safe route, night running might be a better option. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time to refuel and wind down before bed.
Plan Routes with Reprieves from the Heat2 of 10
Plan your route around water fountains, sprinklers and shade. As you plot out your miles, look for opportunities to hydrate and cool off. Public water fountains, well-shaded paths and convenience stores (for purchasing sports drinks or water) can all serve as mid-run oases.
Become a Weather Nerd3 of 10
Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Most runners schedule their long runs for Saturday or Sunday, but if a heat wave is looming, it might be best to switch things up. Consider moving your long run to the middle of the week if it means cooler temperatures.
Know the Dress Code4 of 10
When the temperatures soar, it's crucial to wear the right clothing. Lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics are your best bet when it comes to summer long runs. Choose light colors to reflect heat and opt for a hat and sunglasses for a bit of shade.
Stay Close to the House/Car5 of 10
Instead of an out-and-back course, try running in small loops. Plan a course that takes you past your house or car every few miles and you'll never be far from hydration. Plus, if you start to experience any heat exhaustion, you won't find yourself stranded too far from home.
Buddy Up to Refrigeration6 of 10
Make friends with your freezer in the summer. A few hours before you head out for your run, stick a damp bandana and a water bottle in the freezer. Tie the partially frozen bandana around your neck and carry the water bottle to stay cool and hydrated.
Lower Your Core Body Temperature7 of 10
To avoid overheating mid-run, try a pre-cooling technique. If you don't want to carry anything in hand, drink a sports drink slushie or eat an ice pop a few minutes before you hit the road.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine showed that ingesting an ice slurry (slushie) increased the amount of time that athletes were able to run before exhaustion.
Understand Your Body Chemistry8 of 10
Pay attention to electrolyte consumption. Hydration is important when temperatures rise, but you also need to make sure you're consuming enough electrolytes (e.g. sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium). Muscle cramps and spasms are the most common symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance, but runners can also experience dizziness, fatigue, nausea and a host of other symptoms when levels fall.
Sports drinks can be an easy way to add electrolytes to your diet, but coconut water, bananas, watermelon and even pickle juice can also help to keep things balanced.
Take it Indoors9 of 10
Running outside is usually the first choice for many runners, but if conditions are extreme, it may be time to take your run indoors to the treadmill. While treadmill runs can be monotonous, sometimes a temperature-controlled environment is the most effective way to get those miles done.
Can't stomach an entire long run on the treadmill? Try running half of your miles outside and head inside for the other half.