8 Tips For Making Running In The Heat Easier This Summer

Summer is the best time of year for lots of activities — grilling, strolling around the block, reading a book in the park, eating hot dogs. Cardio, on the other hand, can feel like a major chore. But in actuality, your body is designed to adapt to the summer's increase in humidity and heat, and it only takes about two weeks to fully adjust. Still, on those sticky August days, my cooling system does not appear to be regulating itself, even from the seated position.

If you have ever used the heat as an excuse for skipping your run, I feel you. Intense cardio delivers our brains and bods major benefits — such as lower stress levels, better mood, and fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression — so even when a plodding along makes you perspire more than you'd like, it's important to hit the pavement (or beach) to get the heart rate up.

There are plenty of tricks to help you run when you'd rather lay in a kiddie pool of ice water. Over the years I have trained for a few summer races, and in the process I've learned some techniques for staying motivated to get that outdoor cardio in when ripping myself away from the chair in front of my air conditioner feels nearly impossible. I promise they work, and your body will thank you for taking it out for a spin.

Splash Your Pulse Points

This is a trick I learned at basketball camp in the ’90s, and I swear, those coach ladies were onto something. When I go on long runs in summer, I take a break, buy a bottle of refrigerated H2O, and splash my wrists, ankles, and neck right where the major arteries are the with cold water. The relief is instant.

Run At Dawn Or Sunset

It’s easier to get up when daylight starts earlier, and running in the morning can help you escape the heat. Near dawn, the pavement has not had the chance to bake, and the cooler nighttime breezes are still wafting around. If you can’t get up early, try running at sunset. Not only will you get some gorgeous views, but the strongest, most damaging rays will be gone for the day.

Use SPF Gear

Coolibar and other brands create super-cute clothing like hats, shorts and T-shirts with SPF built right into the fabric. A hat is key — shielding your head and face from the sun can make you feel about twenty times cooler. Don’t forget to lather up, too.

Wear Looser, Light-Colored Clothing

Nothing works better than a cute new pair of running shorts to get even reluctant runners out that door. In summer, it is important to wear loose, light colored clothing. Invest in mesh tanks, shorts with vents, anything to get the air circulating.

Hydrate With H20 And Sports Drinks

Hydrate before you run with H20. Be sure to bring water with you, and money for an extra bottle of water should you need it. For longer runs — say, more than eight miles — bring a sports drink with you, or buy a hydration belt. After that many miles sweating in the sun, it is a good idea to replace electrolytes.

Join A Group

The buddy system — it works wonders. The only thing that gets many runners through training is having a group to report to once a week. For me, the social aspect is fun and motivating as well. Try training for a color run 5K — it’s a do-able distance, fun to do with friends, and a fun way to meet new friends!

Make It A Day Trip

One of the best motivators for running, or anything, is a day at the beach. Or on the cool, shady trails of your favorite local park. If you need further motivation, plan to run with a buddy and then spend some time relaxing afterward — preferably by a cool body of water!

Listen To Your Body

If you start to wheeze, slow down. If you start to feel weaker than normal, slow down. Even if you feel normal, slow down. In the heat, your body works harder, so don’t be shy of breaks and remember that a slower pace is expected. And if you begin to feel dizzy, stop, breathe, and find some water or sports drink. For longer runs, it’s good to run with a hydration belt in case you are without water fountains nearby.