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8 Ways to Make Your Sweltering Summer Runs Enjoyable

Photo credit: iStock/lzf

Photo credit: iStock/lzf

Thanks to longer days, open trails, and heaping cups of water ice, summer can be a delightful time of the year to run. However, when a heat wave or humidity hits, logging miles can be decidedly difficult. To beat the heat, here are eight simple ways to make your run more enjoyable during hot summer days. 

Avoid the Hottest Part of the Day // Skip the scorching afternoon sun and take advantage of summer’s extra daylight by running either in the early morning or the evening. These cooler hours will aid performance and ensure you don’t become overheated. If you need help becoming a morning person, follow these helpful tips.

Don’t Forget SPF // Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to all exposed areas before you run. You will block out harmful UV rays and prevent painful sunburn. Additionally, a layer of sunscreen can lower your skin and body temperature. Don’t forget to apply on overcast days too. Tip: use one of these varieties to make sunblock application easy.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate // When temperatures are high, your body needs more fluids. Try to drink 8 ounces of water every hour before your run. Also, bring fluids with you, or plan your route so you run by water fountains periodically (typically found outside public libraries and throughout city parks).

Run on the Grass // Asphalt is black and it retains heat, which means a hotter run. If possible, try to avoid pavement and instead opt to run on grass — this will also help reduce impact on joints. Running in a park or on trails with shade cover is ideal. Check out the trails at Wissahickon Valley Park for shady runs and great scenery.

Dress Cool // Dress in light-colored, loose fitting clothing as it will reflect the sun’s rays rather than absorb it. Wear loose clothing that will allow a breeze to come through and avoid cotton as it holds sweat. Go for a moisture-wicking, synthetic fabric instead. For accessories, wear a pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes, and considering donning a hat or a cooling bandana.

Find a Body of Water, Run Near it // Oceans, rivers, and lakes usually create slightly cooler conditions with a breeze. If you’re in Philadelphia you can take advantage of the Schuylkill River Trail. Or, if you’re at the shore this summer, go for a run along the ocean.

Try Pre-Cooling // Pre-Cooling is when you lower your body’s temperature in the hour before you run. This slows the rate at which your core temperature rises once you’re out running and some studies suggest that this may improve performance. While some don an ice vest to pre-cool, the novice can do it by simply drinking ice water and sitting in and air-conditioned room for an hour before you run.

Listen to Your Body // While running outside in the summer can be fun, it’s important to pay attention to your body and stay safe. Be mindful of the signs of heat stroke: altered mental state, alteration in breathing, nausea, headache, racing heart rate, and flushed skin. If something doesn’t feel right, take a break or try again another day.

Get more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.

Sponsor content is created for IBX by Philadelphia magazine as a marketing collaboration with IBX. This material is intended for reference and information only and should not be used in place of advice from a doctor or suitable qualified healthcare professionals.