Good Content from: Team Saucony
In many ways, summer is the perfect time to train. The days are longer, meaning more hours to fit in a workout. The higher temps naturally warm up and relax your muscles, priming them to run right out of the gate. Increased skin exposure to sunlight ramps up vitamin D production, boosting bone health. But despite these pros, summer running has one obvious con: the heat.
Luckily, there are ways to outsmart the heat and still enjoy good runs. To help you face the sizzling temps, we’ve gathered everything you need to stay cool during summer running, from tips for what to wear to advice on how to safely train in the heat.
When heading out for a hot-weather run, think light. Meaning: lightweight, breathable shoes and apparel, in light colors. Opt for shoes with featherweight foam and ventilating mesh that will keep your feet cool when you’re digging deep. You may need to replace your shoes sooner than usual in the summer, as the hot pavement can wear them out faster.
Here are some of our favorite shoes for the summer:
- Endorphin Shift (Shop Men’s and Women’s)
- Kinvara 11 (Shop Men’s and Women’s)
- Ride 13 (Shop Men’s and Women’s)
- Hurricane 22 (Shop Men’s and Women’s)
As for tops and shorts, less is more. Go for thin, sweat-wicking materials, and consider a hat to shield your face from the sun. Avoid dark colors, as they retain more heat.
Here are our summer apparel must-haves:
- Men’s Stopwatch Singlet
- Women’s Mid-Summer Tank
- Men’s Outpace 5” Shorts
- Women’s Split-Second 2.5” Shorts
- Point to Point Hat
Imagine the perfect running day. It’s probably around 50 degrees with low humidity, right? In this climate, our bodies don’t have to work very hard to stay warm or cool, so our muscles can perform at maximum efficiency. On the other hand, when we run in hotter temperatures, we overheat quicker and require extra energy to regulate heat. We cool down by two methods:
- Sweating: Excess heat is removed from the body through perspiration. The hotter and more humid it is outside, the more you’ll sweat and the longer it will cling onto your body. It’s important to replace fluids lost through sweat with water and sports drinks.
- Blood flow: Blood is diverted to the skin to cool down, which is why we turn red when we’re exercising in the heat. Unfortunately, this means that less oxygen-rich blood is available for the muscles to use, so running becomes harder.
As a general rule of thumb, runners slow down by about 3% for every 10-degree increase in temperature above 55 degrees. So if you finish a marathon in 3:30 in 55 degrees, your finish time would increase by six minutes in 65 degrees. In other words, you would slow down by 15 seconds per mile at 65 degrees, and by 45 seconds per mile in 85 degrees.
If you feel like you’re constantly wearing a heavy, moist blanket during the hot months of summer, we feel you. Running in extreme heat and humidity can be a drag at best, and dangerous at worst. Here are a few tips for running safely in the heat.
- Slow down. Don’t try to replicate your cooler-weather performances on hot days, but rather go by effort. Remember that your heart rate will be significantly higher going the same pace on a hot day versus a cool one.
- Run in the morning or night. Follow the 7s rule: run before 7 A.M. or after 7 P.M. Try to avoid running when the sun’s highest in the sky.
- An easy way to calculate your sweat rate is to weigh yourself before and after running. Whatever that number is, make sure you’re replenishing at least that amount in fluids both during and after your run. Sports drinks are great for replacing depleted electrolyte stores.
- Stick to shade. Trails are ideal to run on during the summer, because they offer shade, relief from blistering-hot pavement, and technical footing that forces you to slow down.
- Wear sunscreen. Sunburn inhibits your skin’s ability to cool down, so be sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading out the door.
- Know when to stop. Feeling hot is one thing, but feeling extremely overheated, weak, dizzy, nauseous, and having a rapid pulse could signal heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Learn the warning signs of heat stroke—and how to act in a heat emergency—here.
After the run, kick back
Perhaps the best part of summer running is the sense of accomplishment it brings. After all of those hard, sweaty miles, you deserve to kick back and enjoy the sweet relief of air conditioning and a cold drink. You might even treat yourself to another pair of shoes and more sweat-wicking apparel. After all, more sizzling good runs await.