Running Tips and Tricks for Transition Season
If you dabble in the wonderful world of fitness there’s a high probability that you’ve had a “run-in” (pun so very much intended) with the sport of running at some point in your fitness career. Whether you caught the bug and log mile after mile each week or go out of your way to avoid any fitness class that might have the possibility of its occurrence – you likely know that there’s a lot of factors that play into an enjoyable (and safe!) run. We may becoming to the end of summer months and extreme heat in most parts of the country, but there’s always outlier states (looking at you, Arizona) or if you’re an Ohio native like us, you know the season’s are really just names and the weather doesn’t always follow suit to “Fall” or “Winter”. That being said, we’ve outlined tips for this weird transition period where we’re experiencing runs in that sticky heat one day, pulling out our long sleeves the next, and dealing with the changing sunrise and sunset hours.
Let’s kick things off with tips and tricks for staying cool, hydrated, and healthy during those hotter runs, shall we? You likely already know that wearing the right materials and hydrating correctly are the biggest factors in having a successful run when the sun is beating down on you. But maybe you’re wondering which materials? or how much do I need to hydrate? and when? That’s why we’re here!
- Stick to light colors to avoid over-attraction of the sun
- Loose fitting (that means the butt-enhancing Wunder Under’s need to stay in the closet today), moisture-wicking materials
- Hat or visor to keep the sun out of your eyes and that scalp free of an unattractive (and uncomfortable) sunburn
- SPF! We’re advocates of anything 30+.
- Depending on the window of time you run you may not have all day to prepare. In this case aim for 10-15 ounces of water 15 minutes prior to heading out.
- If you’ve got more time to hydrate before your run, aim to have 16oz every hour up to two hours before you hit the road.
- Aim to get some hydration every 20-30 minutes of your run.
- You’re going to need electrolytes post-run as you likely lost a healthy chunk and replenishing them will help better optimize cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, and performance responses. Our suggestion? An ice cold NOOMA.
Miscellaneous tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t be afraid to reduce your intensity. Pushing past your limit in cases of high temperatures can turn out to be more dangerous than effective. Listen to your body and recognize when the heat is beginning to feel overwhelming and it’s time to cut a run short or slow your pace.
- The hottest time of day is between 12-3pm so if you can avoid pavement pounding at this time, we’d recommend it.
- It can take up to two weeks to acclimate to exercising in hotter weather so be patient and kind to your body.
Early or Later Hour Runs:
So maybe you’re a runner that goes out of their way to beat the heat (or higher visibility to your exercise regimen) and hit the streets in those pre-sunrise or post-sunset hours. Whatever works for you and your routine is the best kind of plan to follow (you’re more likely to stick to it!), but there are some safety tips to keep in mind if you’re heading out in those early or later hours.
- Aim for light, bright, and reflective. Save the chic black on black for your Friday night happy hour.
- If there was ever a time for reflective tape, this is it.
- Cannel your inner spelunker and try out a headlamp.
- If neon outfits aren’t really a part of your 2017 look-book, at least invest in reflective gear that can be worn overtop of your regular running clothes. Think reflective compression socks or a vest.
Rules to follow:
- Stick to the left side of the road, facing traffic. It’s easier to move out of the way of a car coming in your direction.
- If you can stand it, ditch the music and connect with Mother Nature on these runs. You want all of your senses tuned in sharply and earbuds (quite literally) mute one of the most important ones.
- Vary your route. Being predictable can also make you an easy target to predators. So, in the words of Missy Elliot, “flip it and reverse it”.
Cooler Temperature Runs:
Lastly, we’re going to arm you with some layering tips because even as we take on the heat of these last Summer days, cooler temps are not out of reach. As the temperatures begin to dip, you’ll want to start think about how you can layer smartly so that you stay warm enough without getting overheated 1 mile in. There’s also hydration to keep in mind during the cooler months as well – especially as you may not feel like you’re as in need of refueling!
- Use the “runner’s formula” when assessing what temperature to dress for – this will be 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the recorded temperature outside. Stay on the lower end of that scale if you are heading out for a shorter run or of a less body mass and vice versa for climbing closer to that 20+ degrees.
- Here are some basic formulas to keep in mind for 0 to 30 degrees:
- 20-30 degrees – Layer up with 2 tops (think 1 compression-type base layer and a vest or jacket on top to keep your core warm) and pair with tights (fleece lined if you’re more sensitive to the cold). Finish off with a hat and gloves.
- 10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops (base layer and a full jacket/sweatshirt this time) and 2 bottoms (you’re going to want to layer up with some wind pants over your regular tights). Hat and gloves, again.
- 0 to 10 degrees: First, you are hella motivated – congrats! Prepare yourself with 3 tops (base, fleece sweatshirt or pullover, and a final jacket over that – bonus points if it’s wind resistant. Pair that with the same pants formula as before and don’t forget to cover up those ears and hands.
- Be materialistic. Materials such as polypropylene, capilene, and some wool/synthetic blends are going to be your friends during these cold months as they’ll help to wick moisture away keeping your warm and dry.
Other tips to keep in mind:
- Warm up pre-run. Take five minutes and get yourself warm with some jumping jacks, jump rope, or another type of exercise that will raise your heart rate (and hopefully your internal temperature).
- Just like with extreme heat – be kind to your body and know that you’re probably not going to be setting any new PR’s on these cold weather runs.
- Although you may not feel as thirsty and empty as after a run in extreme heat, you still need to be refueling properly after with at least 8-16 ounces of water 30 minutes before the run.
- Any runs over an hour should be supplemented with 16 ounces of water for every 60 minutes on the road.
- Cold does not stimulate thirst the same way heat does so drink up post-run, regardless of your thirst levels.
Now that you’re armed with tips and tricks for various weather patterns and times of day get out there and run the day before you let it run you.