Hot summers can challenge even the most ambitious of runners. Here’s a small heat hack to help you keep a cool head.
Sports drinks: The most important thing is to stay hydrated in the heat. Drink plenty of mineral water or sports drinks before your run. This way you don’t have to constantly reach for the bottle – at least on runs that are no longer than an hour. Make sure to carry a drink on longer runs, for example in a runners’ bottle belt.
Sunglasses: A constant concern for those who need to wear them – and a must for everyone in the summer or bright light conditions. Good sunglasses should be lightweight and fully cover the eyes. Opting for the ‘UV 400’ label means you can be sure that dangerous UV-A and UV-B rays are filtered out.
Chilling out: Regeneration is as important as the training itself. Factor in at least a day’s rest between two intensive running sessions. Your muscles will recover particularly well with compression products such as the Bauerfeind Sports Compression Calf Sleeves.
Shower: Sure, you should always take a shower after exercise. If you’re running in the heat, a short, cold shower before the run can also help. It lowers your body temperature so you won’t start sweating as soon.
Sunscreen: Sun protection is a must, especially on runs lasting longer than half an hour. Use a sunscreen with low oil content. Oily sunscreens can clog pores and prevent sweating.
Functional clothing: Long pants and a hoodie are not really suited to running in 30 °C heat. Wear shorts and a sleeveless functional top. The lighter, airier and brighter the better. Run in breathable shoes and socks such as our Sports Compression Socks Run & Walk. They wick moisture away to the outside and ensure comfortable ventilation on your skin while the carefully regulated level of compression reduces irritating muscle vibrations in your legs.
Acclimatization: Even if your first run of the summer is always really hard, there is hope. As is the case with many things, our body adjusts to higher temperatures. After just a few days in the heat, you’ll be able to tolerate it a lot better and run just like always.
Cooling down: Besides keeping hydrated, it also helps to actively cool the body from the outside. A light scarf or a small sponge and a fountain, lake or a river can help you on your run.
Isotonic: A whole industry has been created around isotonic drinks for athletes. What is true for a lot of things applies here too: Amateur athletes do just as well with diluted fruit/water mixes or water, particularly if the run is no longer than an hour. The most important thing in the heat: The body loses minerals and salts due to perspiration. To restore the balance, you can simply add a pinch of salt to your drink.
Headaches: Listen to your body! Headaches, hot and cold shivers, stomach pains or cramps send out clear alarm signals. If these occur, you should stop your run immediately, seek some shade and walk slowly.
Performance: It makes complete sense, but ambitious athletes often forget it about: Your body is less efficient than normal in higher temperatures and, for example, reacts by increasing the pulse rate. Therefore, start a bit slower, especially in the beginning, and cut back on your running schedule.
Hat: Add a breathable running hat to your outfit, especially for runs over 20 minutes. As the body releases a lot of heat through the head, you should take off the hat when running in the shade for longer periods.
Afternoons: The time of day when you shouldn’t go running during the summer is afternoons (also see ‘Ozone’ and ‘Time of day’).
Ozone: Even though every person is that little bit different in how they cope with various ambient conditions, there are certain values above which sport should generally be avoided. With ozone, this value is 360 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). The general rule is: Ozone values are at their lowest in the morning, highest in the afternoon and continue to decrease again towards the evening.
Running schedule: As already mentioned, your body’s performance is different from normal when it is exposed to higher temperatures. For this reason, you should reduce your running schedule to 50% if necessary.
Cycling: If you don’t want to do without your training session in hot weather conditions, there are a few ‘cooler’ alternatives to running. Cycling and inline skating provide a pleasant, cooling airflow and if you like it even cooler, you can always go for a dip (see ‘Water’).
Shade: Every endurance athlete’s best friend. Run in the shade whenever possible.
Time of day: Morning is by far the best time of day for running during the summer. The temperature and ozone values are at their lowest in the morning. If you’re not an early riser, try to run late in the evening when things have cooled down a little. If you must run in the afternoon: Seek shade!
UV protection: Besides sunglasses, hat and sunscreen, there is another effective measure to protect against the sun. Sun protective clothing from Bauerfeind Sports protects you with a UV protection factor of 80 – making it eight times more effective than a light-colored shirt.
Pampering: After a long day at work and a strenuous exercise regime, you should give your body back what it has lost (see ‘Isotonic’). This is best achieved with mineral-rich foods such as bananas, dried apricots or wholegrain products. And no harm in treating yourself to ice cream once in a while.
Water: Water not only cools you down as a drink, but it also serves as a place for physical activity. Aqua jogging and aqua fitness offer an alternative to running and cycling. And there’s also a pleasant side effect: It puts less strain on your joints and, when you’re no longer in the mood, you can simply dive down.
Ticks: The woods are a great place for a run, especially during the summer. Unfortunately, this is also where a lot of ticks can be found. Find out if your region is a risk area and check your whole body for ticks after a run if necessary.