I can proudly say I'm anything but a fair weather runner. Even if it's overcast and drizzling, I'm out there doing what I enjoy. Although I'm always eager to hit the pavement, I have to admit, when it's summertime and the temps are nearing 90-plus degrees, my eagerness wains quite a bit. Admittedly, I'm prone to overheating. My body much prefers to layer up in the winter than sweat it up during summer.
To ensure I don't skip a summer run, there are four things I always take into consideration to avoid overheating.
Never underestimate the power of what you wear when you sweat. I can't even imagine going on a long run without making sure I'm decked out in gear that's as ready to work as I am. For me, that takes the form of anything and everything with ventilation. And lucky for runners like me, who count overheating as an unwelcome trait, nearly anything and everything can be created with cooling, breathable material that's ventilated.
My nonnegotiables for breathability are leggings and a tank. My training uniform nearly always consists of a tank like the UA Qualifier Iso-Chill Tank ($45) with sweat-wicking material and specially formulated fabric to disperse body heat and cool off a body in motion. Next up, if I'm not favoring running shorts, I'm opting for chafe-proof leggings like the UA Vanish Leggings Ascend Mesh ($75) that boast a seamless construction, fast-drying fabric, and mesh paneling for extra ventilation, aka a runner's dream.
More often than not, overheating occurs from the inside out. That's exactly why I always make sure my body is ready for whatever mileage I'm going to be asking it to perform — whether it's two miles or 22 miles. After a few unpleasant runs, I learned the hard way that hydration isn't just what you drink during your workout but what you have before and after. Yep, overheating can occur after your run as well.
In the days and hours before my run, I make sure I've been eating water-rich foods as well as drinking plenty of H2O. As far as recovery, I always make sure to have a sports drink in the fridge waiting for me. And if I'm really feeling like I need to replenish, a water mix-in like Hydrant Rapid Hydration Mix ($38) offers up to triple the electrolytes as my favorite drink as well as sodium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
I'm not talking about how fast of a pace I keep but rather the time of day I opt for my run. Most runners are accustomed to planning their runs around the weather. But another equally important factor is the time of day. Obviously it can be warmer in the afternoons than early in a.m. or late in the p.m. While that's preferable for winter runs, it's less than desirable for summer sessions. It may be a tad painful, but setting that alarm a little extra early to avoid the highest temps and brightest sun can save a lot of unpleasantness. A good rule of thumb I always remember: it can feel up to 10 degrees warmer when you run!
As a woman who runs solo, I'm always conscious of my environment on my runs. Beyond safety, if I know I'm planning a summer run, I make sure to opt for routes that have great options that allow for breaks. I take into consideration shaded spots, water fountains, and places I can safely take a breather if needed. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that there's no shame in stopping if you need to. Even the pros have to give themselves a chance to regroup. The main thing is to get back out there once your body feels strong and able again.