There are several challenges facing us when running in hot weather, not least of which is simply getting our kit on and heading out the door. The draw of the beer garden, the garden at home or the park all serve as distractions from the fitness and running routine. However, getting the running done early in the day – before work, before breakfast and before the sun gets too hot – is surely an effective day way of avoiding the guilt later on in the day from missing a run.
The trick that works for us is the scenario of needing to run to complete the day’s activities. That comprises of buying a single train ticket in the morning, taking running kit in a backpack, and leaving no choice but to trot the 6.5miles home from work at the end of the day. That puts us in the position of running whatever the weather and when that weather is seriously sunny then only a few things need change with the kit, the preparations, and the recovery.
Clearly the choice of kit is important in extremely hot and cold weather. The more technical, comfortable and moisture-wicking the fabric is the better. Sunglasses become essential and especially when you spend any time running into a rising or setting sun (this is especially a problem for us running east and west along the Thames Path in London). And don’t forget the need for sun cream on even the shortest of runs and especially if you are out in the middle of the day or have a particularly white complexion (mentioning no names!).
But it is hydration that makes the biggest difference in our experience. The tip is to maintain extra hydration during the day, preferably with electrolyte but not necessarily energy. The brands that we stock for this type of drink are market leader Nuun and Shotz, but others do exist too. If your run is only short then perhaps you will not need more fluids during the run, but anything more than about 20mins and you might regret not having something with you.
Cooling down post-run seems to take us an age and this process cannot be rushed. So when you get back to the home/office/gym then keep the fluids coming whilst you stretch off those supple heated muscles. A cool shower feels great but continue to hydrate and replace the fluids that seeped out even after your run. Your thirst reflex should not be a stranger so react and top up with water and electrolyte in moderate quantities, as only you can truly judge best.