Now that we’re in the heart of summer, we’re getting to that point where nearly every day is topping the temperature charts and it’s getting a little painful to go outside. I’m not sure what the weather is like where you are, but here in Virginia the only thing that seems to break up the 90+ degree days is the occasional intense thunderstorm.
Not exactly ideal running or outdoor workout weather.
But the reality is, most of us will go out in it anyway. Rain, shine, humidity be damned, we’re still getting our workout in!
And that’s all fine and dandy, as long as you’re making a point to be safe. Working out outside in the summer might seem harmless, but the reality is that it poses a lot of dangers that we “dedicated fitness people” aren’t always so good at paying attention to!
So whether you’re an avid outdoor runner or are new to working out in the summer, I thought I’d give you a few important tips to remember to keep yourself safe while getting your sweat on this summer!
1. Always bring your cell phone
I know, I know, carrying a cell phone while running can be a pain in the butt. Believe me, I feel your pain. Especially considering that cell phones are gigantic now, they aren’t exactly convenient to hold or tuck away (hello giant Samsung Galaxy S4!) But it is seriously important, especially in the summer, to make sure that you have one on you.
The reality is, you never know what the weather might bring. 100+ degree temps, flash thunderstorms, lightning storms… you never want to get caught unaware in bad weather with no one who can come pick you up. Similarly, heaven forbid you start to feel sick or light headed in the middle of a long run. The last thing you want to do is to have to make the long trek home when you’re already at risk.
So take a cell phone, and call a loved one if you need help. And if you’re one of those people who is convinced that it’ll never be you, take it with you in case you see another runner in need!
2. Wear sweat-wicking workout clothes
I am notoriously bad about this one, because I despise doing laundry. However I can absolutely tell the difference when I’m wearing an old college tshirt versus an actual workout top. As minute as it seems, it really is important during the summer to choose workout clothes that can breathe and wick sweat away from your body.
Why? Because while fabrics like cotton soak up sweat (which is your body’s way of trying to cool itself down), they tend to keep the moisture trapped in the fabric. This can not only make it difficult for your body to properly cool itself, which is super important in the hot summer, but it can also lead to chafing and general discomfort. And nobody has time for that.
So suck it up and spend a few extra bucks on some athletic apparel to wear on your outside workouts. Your body will thank you later!
3. Make sure you properly hydrate
It’s pretty much ingrained in us to make sure that we’re drinking water while we’re working out or take it with us on a long run, but what is just as important (and is often forgotten) is to make sure you’re properly hydrating all day long! If you go into a long run dehydrated, it’s not going to be long before you start feeling the effects, and things are just going to go down hill from there.
So if you know that you have a workout scheduled, make sure that you are getting in plenty of water throughout the day to set yourself up for success (and safety!)
If you’re not a water drinker, I highly encourage you to try adding some fruits or flavors into your water to make it taste a little less boring. Oranges, cucumbers and lemons are some of my favorites, but you really could add just about any fruit. Or there are plenty of flavorings out there now, just try to pay attention to the ingredient list – most are full of chemicals and fake sugars. I’m personally a big fan of the True Lemon brand! (<– affiliate link, FYI)
4. Always let someone know where you are
This should be important when you’re training all year round, but it’s especially important in the summer months. I know that it feels silly, but it is vital that you let someone know where you are going (i.e. your general planned route or neighborhood) and an estimate when you think you’ll be back. That way you’ve got someone that can come look for you, or call for help, if heaven forbid something happens.
If you don’t have anyone that lives with or near you, you can still call a family member or friend and let them know. Any awareness is better than no awareness! And that way they can check in with you (on your cell phone, which you should be carrying, HA!) to make sure that you’re ok.
You also might want to consider switching up your route during the summer, especially if you’re a trail runner. I know it’s not nearly as fun, but if something DOES happen to you, you’re much more likely to be seen out in a neighborhood or park than on a scarcely populated trail.
5. Don’t forget to refuel & rehydrate!
Just as important as hydrating before a run, is making sure that you refuel and rehydrate after your run is over. Especially if you’ve just finished a long run or a hard workout, you want to make sure that you’re putting some electrolytes back into your body! I know that there are a ton of “post-workout” drinks out there on the market, but the reality is that a lot of the cheap, big name brands that you find at the convenience store are really full of crap or are pretty much just sugar water (not to call anyone out… but it rhymes with “raterade”).
I’m personally a huge fan of the Ignite Naturals INRefresh brand. I love that there ingredient list is not full of chemicals, it’s non-GMO and 100% plant based, AND it’s gluten-free and vegan for all of my friends out there who are looking for those products.
But whatever brand you choose, just make sure that you’re replenishing your body after your workout, otherwise you’re body is going to let you know really quickly that it’s struggling!
(Ignite Naturals didn’t ask me at all for this review – I just really love their products and I think you would to! So I got a nice little 10% off coupon for anyone who is interested in trying them out (dragonfruit lemon-lime is my personal favorite). Just enter IN00374 at checkout!)
So there you have it – 5 tips to make sure that you’re staying safe during your summer workouts! But most importantly, make sure that you’re listening to your body! Heat and humidity depletes the body much faster than we’re used to, so while you might be tempted to push through the discomfort, just be aware that you’re body can quickly go from uncomfortable to dangerous!
So tell me: What are your tips for working out in the summer? What do you carry with you on long runs/bike rides to make sure you’re staying safe?