By Karen Kwan
Ah, newbie runners – you thought summer was the perfect time to pick up the sport, only to realize that the high temps and humidity can make for some very difficult and very uncomfortable runs. Lea Amaral, owner of Energia Athletics in Toronto, shares her top tips on how to keep as cool as possible during your summer runs.
Avoid running in the hottest times of day (generally 10AM until 2PM). If you can manage to run in the early morning or in the late evening, try scheduling your runs for those times, says Lea.
Wear a hat. “Many people think they’ll be hotter wearing a hat, but it will keep you cooler to not have the sun on your face and directly on your head,” she says. Look for a hat with a brim in a lightweight, technical fabric.
Wear lightweight running gear. That cotton T-shirt you got for your last charity fundraiser is not proper running apparel. Invest in a few pieces of running gear made of lightweight, technical fabrics that’ll wick perspiration away from your skin – making for a much more comfortable run. Dark colours aren’t so much an issue with these technical pieces – although Lea says you may want to avoid a dark-coloured hat.
Protect your eyes. You don’t need a fancy designer pair of shades, says Lea, but there are many inexpensive running sunglasses on the market that’ll stay put on your face and are lightweight and comfortable for running in.
Plan ahead and be flexible about your training. Keep an eye on the week’s forecast and be flexible if you can about your running. “If your training run is scheduled for today, but tomorrow’s forecast is a bit cooler, switch your run to tomorrow,” she says. Also, be willing to ease up on the intensity of your run if the humidity and heat is particularly intense.
Drink water. Hydrate your body well before you run, after you run and of course, bring water with you during your run. And if you’re running for more than an hour, you will need to replenish your electrolytes, so experiment with different sports drinks to find one that works for you.
Pick shaded areas to run. Seek out parks, ravines and streets where trees and buildings create shaded paths to run.