Run in the Sun – ‘Do I, Don’t I?’

Hottest summer on record? Every year we get told it is going to be the hottest since records began. Great news for planning BBQs but it can make running rather tricky. Many people will retreat to the air-conditioned gym treadmill or neglect their run altogether – this doesn’t have to be the case. Consider these tips and you can enjoy your run or even walk in the sun. 

  • Drink early and often– avoid gulping down litres just before you head out, it is probably too late. Instead, keep your hydration levels topped up the day of and day before your run, especially if you plan to run in the morning. Do the urine colour test to keep track of your hydration levels – nice, but it is a great indicator. Always take a bottle out with you, take a card out to buy a bottle on your way if needed or wear a hydration vest.
  • Dress Cool– wear clothes that are light, loose fitting and light coloured. Microfiber polyesters and cotton blends are good fabric choices. Wear a hat or bandana to keep the sun off the head. Maybe even stick a few ice cubes under there just before you head out or soak it in cold water. Wear sweat resistant sun cream – just be careful that it doesn’t run in your eyes. 
  • Slow your pace– not every run needs to be a PB. Most elite athletes train at 80:20 (e.g. out of 10 runs in a week 8 would be low intensity, 2 would be high). Aim to last the distance rather than burn out. Start off slow for the first half of your run and if you are feeling good then you can push it a little. Just make sure you have enough fluid for the duration of your run. 
  • Make adjustments–Run in the morning or evening, try to avoid the midday sun. If unavoidable, as long as you are well prepared and experienced there is no danger to running in the high heat of the day. Run along trails. Towns and cities are a lot hotter throughout the day as the buildings and roads store more heat. Try to run in the shade from trees and hedges even if it means crossing the road a few times
  • Go out chilled– Avoid going for a run when you are hot and bothered, or if you have been sitting in the sun or just had a hot drink or food. Change things up, have a quick cold shower, a cold drink or anything that cools you down before heading out the door. 

Don’t let running in the heat put you off, as long as you are sensible, consider the above tips you will have no problems. Take it slow, keep well hydrated, build up your experience and you will find what works for you – there is nothing much better than a warm sunny evening run out in the countryside. 

Alex Cann

AC Running and Fitness