When the days get longer and the temperatures become more pleasant, running to lose weight becomes a possibility that many take into consideration to get back into shape and lose those extra pounds that the winter has left us as a legacy.
As we approach summer, however, the rise in temperature can easily transform itself from a precious ally to a dangerous enemy.
When we run, our body transforms the chemical energy of food into kinetic energy (movement): this transformation generates excess heat, which our body must dissipate.
The mechanism of perspiration is the most effective system we have available: the evaporation of sweat on the skin removes large amounts of thermal energy, lowering the body temperature.
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However, the mechanism involves an enormous loss of fluids (and mineral salts) which must be replenished during training, especially if the duration of the activity is greater than 30 minutes.
Running in the heat without the precautions can be perilous. Besides a marked decline in performance, both in terms of speed and distance, those who run in the summer must also face the possibility of running into the notorious “heat stroke” (hyperthermia).
That is the condition of excessive heat because of the inability of the body to dissipate the excess.
Should we therefore refrain from running in the summer? Surely not. With the right precautions, it is possible to run even in a recent period, trying to limit the discomfort of high temperatures as much as possible.
For this reason, we try to provide you with a series of tips below to run in the heat, in summer or spring.
1. RUN EARLY OR LATE
The early morning hours are the coolest of the day. If you have the opportunity, run in the morning, immediately after sunrise (perhaps before going to work).
If you are not early risers, then choose an evening time, possibly after 8pm: oo, when there is still light but the sun no longer warms the air.
2. “SMART” CLOTHES
To facilitate the dispersion of heat, try to dress as little as possible , staying within the boundaries of decency!
Men can opt for the classic shorts with side slits, while the fair sex can resort, besides short and light shorts, also to replace the t-shirt with a specific top for running, in order to expose the abdomen to the ‘air.
Try to use light-colored clothes (black is banned) that attract less sunlight and possibly made with technical fabrics (each brand has its own), designed to facilitate the transfer of sweat from the epidermis to the outside and favor its evaporation .
Absolutely not recommended the classic cotton t-shirts, which keep sweat and become heavy “hot water sarcophagi”.
Also, try to choose garments that are not tight but comfortable, so that the natural swaying of the fabric during the run favors the circulation of air around the epidermis.
To avoid caps and any other type of headgear: much of the heat is dissipated by the head and I must not hinder this in any way!
3. DRINK BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER
Since sweating is not long in coming but begins after the first few minutes, it is important to start well hydrated.
If you run in the evening, try to drink at least one and a half liters of water during the day, in order to arrive “prepared” for the evening session. For early risers, a glass of water or two half, an hour before departure is ideal.
Choose a route that includes the possibility of drinking (fountain or drinking fountains) every 2/3 kilometers.
If the route does not have this pleasant possibility, and if you go running by car, leave a bottle of water and come back to drink now and then.
Alternatively, you can “scatter” a bottle or two of water (hidden) on the route before starting (this is a common practice among runners). If you want to break the fatigue, also pour a little water on your head: a genuine pleasure!
At the end of the session, drink several times, even if the sense of thirst is not strong (it will help you in the following hours).
4. STAY IN THE SHADOWS
If you run during the day, even if it could be boring, try to change the route in order to limit the areas exposed to sunlight as much as possible. Rather, repeat the same shaded path several times .
During exposure, the perceived heat increases a lot and a few hundred meters under the sun can put an end to your performance.
5. AWAY FROM THE CITY
We do not want to suggest that you run only among the cool branches of a country avenue, but at least try to avoid narrow streets lined with buildings.
Bricks and concrete keep the heat accumulated during the day and are ready to pour it on the unfortunate summer runner ( radiant heat ).
So if you run into the city, try to do it in the most “open” possible: parks, large tree-lined avenues, maybe a nice promenade …
6. REDUCE THE PACE (AND EXPECTATIONS)
During exercise, our body generates a large amount of heat, which we disperse through the epidermis (thanks also to sweat).
The amount of heat generated is proportional to the intensity of the work, so start slowly to acclimate your body gradually and to delay the moment you reach maximum body temperature.
If the heat is intense and the humidity level is high, a slow start will probably have to be followed by a general slowing down of the pace .
7. PROTECT YOUR SKIN
Even if you are not on the beach or in a tourist village, it still exposed you to the sun’s rays, so use the same precautions. At least protect your face and shoulders with a high-factor sunscreen (I suggest at least 30FP).
Always remember that the sun is good in small doses and during the race we rarely notice that we are exposed for a long time, only to find ourselves with sunburned skin and with the certainty of having more wrinkles after a few years … (if not worse)
8. FRESH ALSO ON THE TABLE
Avoid or minimize the intake of heavy and thermogenic foods (red meats, fried, fatty foods) but increase the intake of seasonal fruit and vegetables.
Running in the hot season, the body has a greater need for micronutrients: besides vitamins (antioxidants in particular A, C and E), fruits and vegetables help to recover the minerals lost with sweating, without having to resort to useless and expensive isotonic drinks.
9. TRY THE TECHNOLOGY
I know that this advice can make many noses turn up, especially to “purist” runners, but it is a possibility to consider.
If you go to a gym or any air-conditioned place where there is a treadmill, you can use it as a “fallback” on particularly hot days.
The ideal is the execution of shorter and quality works (the adverse weather would heavily penalize repeated tests or changes of pace, for example), proving to be useless.