Summer is here, and runners everywhere are sweating buckets. But just because the heat is on doesn’t mean you’ll be forced to skip runs or stay chained to the treadmill for the next three months.
We spoke with Under Armour® marathoner Nick Arciniaga — who lives and trains in Flagstaff, Ariz. — for his tips on running through the summer. As someone who often logs runs in scorching temperatures, this professional runner knows a thing or two about dealing with the heat.
Because temperatures are hottest in the late afternoon, it makes sense to avoid running during that time. Arciniaga says to get out in the early morning hours (just before the sun starts to rise) when temperatures are at their lowest. He focuses on getting enough sleep and waking up a couple of hours before his run to stretch and rehydrate.
“You want to make sure you’re drinking a lot of water before a run because we lose a good amount of fluid overnight,” Arciniaga says.
Drinking cold water can also decrease your body temperature to act as a precooling technique before you hit the road.
Smart Clothing Choices
In addition to hydration tactics, Arciniaga recommends wearing light-colored, moisture-wicking tops and shorts, like those in Under Armour’s HeatGear line.
These special fabrics are designed to pull sweat away from your body, transferring heat with it. Sweat is a natural process your body uses to decrease your internal temperature, but when summer heat is impeding the cooling process, the right apparel can act as an additional chilling tool.
In the summer, the right route can offer its own cooling methods. Find a path with lots of shade to shield you from the sun’s damaging rays, or run near bodies of water that can sometimes have lower air temperatures or a cool breeze.
Arciniaga also stresses the importance of hydrating while on the run.
“I sometimes carry a water bottle with me when I go out,” he says. “But I will often go drive my running route and stash hydration along the way to pick up as I go by.”
The faster your body temperature drops after a run, the faster you’ll feel better. One of Arciniaga’s favorite ways of cooling off is going for a dip in a pool or natural body of water. Also drink a large glass of ice cold water to help bring your internal temperature back to normal.
In addition to regulating your body temperature, it’s crucial to replace the electrolytes you lost while sweating. This means including a sports drink, which contains high levels of the simple sugars and electrolytes you need after a run, in your hydration regimen.
Know When to Make Changes
While summer runs are seldom going to be a walk in the park, Arciniaga knows when to take it easy.
“When the temperature reaches 70° F or higher, don’t worry about time,” he says. “Your pace might slow as much as 10–30 seconds per mile.”
But even if you are comfortable in the heat of summer, it’s important to recognize when hot is too hot. When the mercury breaks 90° F, Arciniaga recommends cutting a run short, or consider moving your workout indoors when temperatures reach triple digits.
With the right approach to running in the heat and these pro tips, you’ll be running cool this summer — both literally and figuratively.