Whether you’re out for the occasional run, training for an event or it's race day, it’s important that you’re looking after yourself when running in the heat. Summer running can be a pleasant experience however, it is important to carry out appropriate safety measures as it can also be a dangerous experience if not you've not prepared yourself properly.
With the Port Talbot Half Marathon fast approaching on Sunday the 13th of August, it is important to ensure that when training this summer, you’re preparing well for each run. We have put some tips together to help you safely train for your events this summer.
Adjust your runs
Try to adjust your running times so you can run during times of the day when the temperature is lower e.g., morning or evening. This avoids running during midday when the temperature is likely to be at its highest. If you plan to run midday, try, and plan for routes where you encounter shade to keep you cool.
Clothing is important
Wear light-coloured, thin kit! Anything too dark may attract the sun and you don’t want to be running around with a thick, long-sleeved t-shirt on a hot day. Light synthetic clothing that is breathable and quick-drying will allow you to enjoy your running. Cotton clothing traps heat and can absorb your sweat, carrying around that extra weight and nobody wants that! Make sure you have a cap or visor to keep the sun and sweat off your face and prevent dehydration. And don’t forget your sun cream!!
Hydration is key!
Staying hydrated during your summer runs is vital, especially if you’re planning one of your longer runs! Use a handheld water bottle or hydration belt to keep you hydrated throughout. We lose a lot of our electrolyte stores through our sweat when we run and this increases during the heat so be sure to finish with an electrolyte drink. Ensuring you drink plenty of fluids avoids heat stroke, exhaustion and cramps, the last thing you need when running your half marathon.
Allow yourself time to adapt to running in the heat. It is not an activity that many can go out and do with no preparation. Your body needs time to acclimatise to exercising in the heat and the intensity and length of training must reflect this. Eventually, your heart rate and core temperature will begin to decrease as it adapts, making running in the heat that little bit easier.
Listen to your body
Your body will tell you when it’s struggling. It’s important to recognise the danger signs when you’re running in the heat and what you can do to prevent these from happening. Recognise when your body is cramping up due to electrolyte imbalance or dehydration. It’s important to stop, stretch it out and hydrate to prevent this from getting worse. Heat exhaustion and stroke is another common danger when exercising in the heat, so listen to your body and recognise signs of dizziness and nausea.
With the Port Talbot Half Marathon approaching soon in the peak of summer, it’s important to prepare your training in the heat well in advance. You will need time for your body to adapt to the temperature and this way you will enjoy the experience much more. Remember; clothing is important, hydration is key and allow time for your body to adjust! Good luck and stay safe.