Tips for Safe Summer Running

by Rachel Varga, Registered Physiotherapist

We have made it! There is no more snow on the ground, the days are longer, and (most days) the sun is shining. What better time of the year than now to lace up the running shoes and hit the pavement?

As exciting as this might sound for lovers of the outdoors and sport, there are still things that need to be considered when exercising in the heat and humidity that comes with this time of year. In this blog post, I would like to share some tips for running in the summer that can make it safe and enjoyable.

1. Protect Yourself: It is essential to be prepared for high temperatures, humidity levels and sun exposure. Appropriate clothing and sun protection can help with this. Wearing loose, moisture-wicking clothing will help control body temperature, and lighter colours will reduce heat absorption from the sun. In addition, putting on sunscreen and wearing sunglasses and/or a baseball cap can reduce the risk of dangerous UV exposure and sunburn.

Always make sure to check the conditions before heading outside! Did you know your body temperature increases by ~10-degrees during a run? Therefore, if the temperature outside is say 20 degrees, plan the run to feel more like 30 degrees after your body acclimates to the combination of physical exertion and outside temperature.

2. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is so important before, during and after your run. Have 1-2 cups of water before the run, then try to take a drink every 15-20 minutes during the run. However, this is no hard and fast rule. Drink to thirst! Carrying a water bottle or wearing a hydration belt or vest can help with this.

It is also important to consider the increased sweat loss that will happen in the heat. Therefore, consuming an electrolyte drink during, and especially after, will help replenish your stores and promote recovery.

3. Adjust Training: Exertion and heart rate increase when running in higher temperature and humidity levels. Consider slowing down your runs, as well as monitoring your pace and heart rate with a smartwatch or other device. If you can be flexible, try to adjust the time of day you run so you can avoid peak heat, and avoid intense workouts on the hotter and more humid days.

4. Listen to your Body: Heat illness is a potential risk of running outdoors in the summer, so knowing when to stop is critical. Amongst others, some of the signs and symptoms to pay attention to include dizziness, nausea, extreme fatigue, overheating and muscle cramping. However, if there is any cause for concern about running outdoors in the summer, seeking medical advice is recommended.

If you are a runner looking to reduce the risk of injury during the summer season, book an appointment with our Registered Physiotherapist, Rachel Varga, at Synergy Sports Medicine East on the Danforth by clicking HERE!

Rachel VargaRachel Varga

Physiotherapist – B.A. Hons (Kin), MSc.PT
Rachel Varga is a physiotherapist practicing at Synergy Sports Medicine, East End (2017 Danforth Avenue)


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