For some, running can represent freedom and happiness. The high from the endorphin rush is hard to beat, and the silence can be indulgent. Running in hot weather and summer should not prevent this happiness so long as you are properly prepared.
Running can be painful on several levels. Your feet, your shins, and your chest are just some of the casualties, not to mention the sweat. So much sweat. As the sun beats down, it can dehydrate and create blisters from the friction.
Fortunately, there are some tips and gear to help, especially if you choose to run in the heat of summer. Running in the summer can present a special set of challenges, like chafing, the need for extra hydration and sunscreen, and the potential for overheating. You need to plan for these things to make sure you have the proper gear on hand when the time comes.
Benefits and Challenges of Running in Hot Weather and Summer
Summer running definitely has its perks. The views are certainly better, and the sun rays are hard not to enjoy. Getting in the sunlight is enough to help boost your vitamin D levels, which can help you fight things like depression.
Another benefit of running during this season is that you can dress a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about layering clothes. Instead, you can just grab some shorts and a shirt and hit the trails.
Lastly, the roads and running surface are likely to be much better during the summer months. Your path is going to be clear of snow and debris, and it will be much drier. All these things can lead to a safer run. The last thing you need is a running injury that sets you back for a few weeks.
Tips for Running in the Hot Weather and Summer
This section is going to talk about how you can continue running in the heat without sacrificing much of anything. There are plenty of reasons you should run in the first place that you’re probably already aware of. Running in a season where the temperatures can reach over one hundred degrees means you need to take a few extra precautions. This will make sure you don’t seriously injure yourself or ruin your passion for running.
The first thing to remember about summer running is that you are going to want to dress in lighter colors. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean wearing white on every trail run. You want to specifically avoid colors like black or navy blue, especially on your shirts. These colors are going to absorb heat faster and unnecessarily raise your body temperature.
The second thing to look for is synthetic material. This may cost more, but the payoff is worth it. Cotton fabrics are going to hold onto your sweat, which will weigh you down. They also aren’t going to dry as quick. This can lead to chafing, and you can bet that no one wants that during their run.
Lastly, you should think about the smaller details. You need to avoid cotton for your socks, for the same reasons that you want to avoid it in your shirts and shorts. You will also want your clothes loose. This lets your body air out and cool off naturally. If you choose to wear a hat, make sure it’s light too, and opt for a visor if you can. This is less restrictive and can help keep you cool.
Sunscreen should be mandatory on your list of essential summer running gear, no matter how long you plan on being out. One easy tip is to apply your sunblock and then get dressed. This way, if your shirt moves as you run, you are still protected. It’s also important to apply sunscreen to your face, neck, and hairline. Wearing a hat can also assist with skin coverage.
You want to look for an SPF of at least 15-30. In addition, if you plan on being out long then make sure you pack a small bottle to bring with you so that you can reapply. There are also sticks available, rather than a cream. This can be great to use on your face.
Lastly, make sure you find a pair of sunglasses you like. These will keep your eyes protected and prevent you from having to squint at the sun your entire run.
Hydration is important in the summer regardless, even if you aren’t planning on going for a run. There are several options to look at online or at your local running store. You can carry your bottle if you prefer or opt for a hands-free version if you think you will be too sweaty. Perhaps a backpack or belt option is best for you.
Your body is going to sweat out approximately a liter per hour that you are running. This means you want to rehydrate something similar to that with water. A liter is about 34 ounces, so if you find a water bottle for at least 25 ounces you should be ok.
Staying safe while you are running is always important, but it’s especially so when you are running in hot weather. First, you want to make sure you keep an eye on the trail. Potholes are going to be more prevalent if you’re running on a road or sidewalk. Depending on the part of the season you run in, leaves may have started to fall. These can be slippery.
Some other precautions you could take are to alter the time when you run. Try to aim for early morning or later at night when the temperatures are lower. If you decide to run at night, make sure you have a light and reflective equipment, so passersby can see you.
Use our comprehensive guide on the Top 11 Best Lights for Running at Night to find lights or reflective gear that meet you needs.
You could also try running with a friend, although that is understandably not an option for everyone. If you do run alone, take your phone with you and let someone know you’re headed out. It’s also not a bad idea to plan on a shorter run as the temperatures increase.
Lastly, pay attention to your body. No one needs you passing out somewhere because you were overheated. You should push yourself during your run, but not so hard that you aren’t being safe with it. Stop occasionally to catch your breath and take a drink. Also, don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen if you are out more than about an hour.
Best Running Gear for Hot Weather and Summer
Now that you know more about how to prepare yourself for running in the heat, let’s take a look at some hot weather running gear. Summer running gear is equipment that is going to make your run more enjoyable for you and safer overall. You want to make sure you are fully prepared before heading out to the trail.
You are going to want your clothing to be loose and light while you run. This will prevent it from sticking to you and holding in moisture from your sweat. Additionally, lighter-colored clothing won’t absorb as much heat, keeping you cooler while you are out. Lastly, make sure you avoid fabrics like cotton that won’t wick away moisture.
These same principles apply to your socks as well. Your feet are going to be one of your body parts sweating the most and you want to make sure you prevent blisters.
Clothing items like these are great because they are going to help keep you dry all over and lower your body temperature. This will allow you to retain more of your electrolytes because you won’t be sweating them out as often.
Sunscreen is an important part of your running gear during the summer. A painful sunburn can have you regretting the run long after it ends. Aim for at least a 30 SPF to keep yourself protected. Also make sure you reapply each hour that you’re outside to ensure maximum protection. You can look for smaller bottles that are easier to carry with. Lastly, look for a sweat-proof formula to prevent it from running off.
Consider ones that are three ounces or less, making them perfect to stick in your pocket or running pack. Sunscreen with higher SPF coverage and designed for athletic use will offer the most benefit. This will make sure you don’t get any sun damage during your run.
Water Bottles and Vests
There are quite a few different options when it comes to staying hydrated while running. That’s probably because this is such an important part of safety to focus on. The main options are a hand-held bottle, a vest, a pack, and a belt. The right option for you is going to depend on personal preference for the most part. The water is going to add a minimal amount of weight, but the designs of these products make sure the weight is spread out.
This gives you a good idea of the general options available for hydration while you run. Backpacks and vests are great because they can hold a larger bladder, often up to two liters at a time. This is a lot of water to keep you hydrated, but the weight can be an adjustment if you aren’t used to it. Handheld packs are quick and easy to put on, but many people don’t like the feel of them on their hand. A handheld pack also doesn’t offer as much storage space as what some of the other options do.
Need more details? Read our complete review of the Top 11 Best Water Bottles for Running and Biking
With these tips and hot weather running gear, you should be ready for summer running. Start out planning for your run by making sure you are dressed light enough. Then, find a suitable water pack to bring with you. These two things are going to provide you with the most benefits. They’ll also help you enjoy your run. Don’t forget to add in the small details, like sunscreen, shades, and a great playlist.