Hydrate or die-drate, right? There’s no argument against staying juiced up to survive running during the summer months. Around here, it’s not just smart. It’s essential. Our bodies work OT trying to keep cool when things get hot, and running doesn’t make the job any easier.
But let’s start with the obvious. Drink up.
“I can’t emphasize this point enough: Most of us just don’t take in enough fluids,” said Dr. James Jewell in Novant Health’s “Healthy Headlines.” Jewell is an internal medicine physician and pediatrician at Novant Health Mountainview Medical in King, North Carolina. He adds, “for athletes the requirement is significantly higher, especially with outdoor sports during the summer months.”
And how much is enough? Somewhere along the way 64 ounces per day became the old standard many of us still recall. That falls far short of the National Academy of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommendations of 91 ounces for women and 125 ounces for men. While at first read, that may feel like consuming the entirety of Lake Norman, remember it also includes getting fluids from the food we eat. But yes, that’s still a lot of water. Clearly, we have our work cut out for us.
Here are the hacks you were waiting for…
Drinking more isn’t the only answer to get through the next couple of months without feeling like a raisin in sun, of course. It’s just human nature that despite all the science in the world, we’re going to look for another, and perhaps easier way.
Experience is the best teacher, so we turned to local runners and Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Ambassadors for tips, tricks, best practices, and other hacks to survive and maybe even thrive during your summer running.
- I put ice cubes in the pockets of my sports bra and under my hat. Don’t forget your sunscreen, and wear a lot more BodyGlide than you think you need! – Mandy Carter
- Run early, bring water, dress lightly, and wear shades. I recommend wearing a visor over a hat if you can. I’m bald so I need a hat! And run through neighborhoods that you know use sprinklers. – Xavier Vargas
- If you’re not an early bird and prefer to run in the evening when it’s the most hot, ALWAYS carry water with you. I have a waist band that holds 2 mini bottles so I always have water when needed. And wear sunscreen, which is something I always seem to forget. – Brooke Shepard
- Adjust your expectations. it takes time for our bodies to adjust to running in warmer weather. Give yourself time and have patience with it as it adjusts to warmer conditions. Running in warmer weather will likely feel more difficult than in cooler conditions, and know that running at a slower pace does not detract from your run! – Kim Kreuzman
- Think ahead to the future months and what all of the hard work during the summer is preparing you for. All of the suffering during the summer months sets us up for fall PRs when the temps drop. I absolutely love summer running for this. The hotter it is, the more motivated I become to conquer it. – CJ Langley
- Get a hydration vest and put ice in your flasks/bladder. – Mike Cooke
- Here are some warm/humid running tips from someone that used to live in Charleston. 1. The early bird gets the worm! 2. Hydration the night before is key. – Meg Taylor
- Running in Florida for 4 years prepared me for this! Morning runs are the best, start as early as possible. Check the weather ahead of time and adjust your weekly plan to run more on cooler days/less on hotter days if needed. Expect to run slower than goal pace during super-hot runs. It’s not worth getting injured or sick over uncontrollably hot weather. Hot weather is when I prefer to do loops so I can have cold water available at my house or car that I can easily stop by every few miles. And of course, remember sunscreen!! – Megan Artero
How do you survive or thrive in the heat? Let us know at email@example.com. We’d love to share your tips to help other runners make the most of summer running!