Keeping Your Cool During Summer Running

Cincinnati weather. You know exactly what I'm talking about and I haven't even gotten into this blog yet. Cincinnati weather was the one thing I didn't really account for in my Flying Pig training and it was the one thing that did me in more than anything.

Sore feet, an achy knee, the general "OH MY GOD" your body feels when running 26.2 miles. Those were all tough, but they were nothing compared to Cincinnati weather. My training season was from January to May and I think that entire time I had two runs that were over 60 degrees, then the Flying Pig came and it was 85 … on a bright sunny day … with no shade for the last nine miles.

It was the first Sunday in May, I knew it could be hot and I typically don't mind running in the heat, but 25 degrees hotter than just about anything I trained in all season? My body wasn't prepared for that at all. Don't be like me! Prepare yourself for the upcoming summer months so you can be ready to run by the Queen Bee!

Summer Running Tips:

  • WATER!!!!!!!! DRINK WATER!!!!! Drink water before your run, after your run, and during your run! I like taking a water bottle with a hand strap (and it has a nice pocket for your phone), some people like Camelbaks, but have water with you! If you can't bring your own, run near parks with drinking fountains or at least be near somewhere you can purchase a bottle. Unless you're in a race, save the sports drinks for after your run to help prevent muscle cramps.

  • Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate you! Keep in mind the morning or night before a run … no matter how good an ice cold beer sounds at mile three!

  • Run in the morning when it's a little bit cooler. It also boosts my mood before work and makes me feel like I already got the hard part of my day out of the way.

  • Get a park pass and explore the awesome trails we have throughout the area. I love running on trails, but just watch out -- they can eat up your shoes really quick.

  • Start slow. Get used to the increasing temps with shorter runs (under 30 minutes) before you ramp up.

  • "It's not the heat, it's the humidity," the cliché you've heard your entire life also impacts your running. High humidity days make your sweat less effective and it's harder for your body to cool down. I typically won't run on any day over 90 degrees. And when your sweat isn't working for you, it's going to slow you down. Don't push yourself!

  • Make sure your head is covered! As a bald dude, my Buff bandana saved my life during the Pig. If you wear a hat, make sure it has lots of mesh or is looser fitting to allow the heat to dissipate. You could also wear a visor, but those aren't really an option for us bald dudes!

  • Sunglasses! I'm a big fan of goodr glasses: they're affordable, stylish, and have funny names like "Gardening with a Kraken."

  • Always wear sunscreen!!!! SPF 30 or higher, preferably sweat proof, and don't make the same mistake I did during the Pig and miss part of your arms and get the worst sunburn of your life!

  • Watch for heat stroke: headache, dizziness, lack of sweating, hot and cold flashes, nausea, rapid shallow breathing, and confusion.

    Running outside in the heat is totally doable, you just have to be safe! Check out more tips for exercising safely despite the heat, from Greg O'Donnell, one of our PT/OT managers. 

If you listen to Mix 94.9, you've probably heard Ray Anderson on air from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In 2016, Ray took up running and completed his first 5K with the help of the app, Couch to 5K. Ray has now completed his first 15K, half marathon and full marathon. Ray is happy to partner with Healthspirations to share his running journey and what he's learned along the way.