Summertime and the running is… hot!

As the temperatures rise and the sun shines again, many of us will be lacing up our running shoes and heading outside to notch up some serious mileage and boost our bodies with sunshine-fuelled Vitamin D!

However, we still need to stick to our healthy running routines to keep muscles supple and feet happy, including warm-ups, and keeping hydrated. Summer runners also need to ensure their running shoes are supporting their feet and ankles, and not limiting their potential.

So here are our eight top tips for running safely this summer.

 

1. Do a warm-up

When the air temperature is warm, you may be tempted to skip the warm-up. Don’t! A warm-up prepares your body for your run by gradually raising your heart rate, mobilizing your joints, and gently stretching your muscles. This will prevent injury and probably boost your performance overall too.

Make sure you do a warm-up that is specifically designed for runners and includes warm-up exercises for your legs, knees and ankles. According to Amy Morris, a RRCA-certified running coach in Chicago:

“A good warm-up is key to a good run. Even 10 minutes of focused work with bodyweight movements can offer considerable benefits for getting you ready to run, such as warming up muscles and mentally preparing you. It helps with recovery as well”.

 

2. And do a warm-down

Many runners forget the importance of a warm-down. Do the same routine as your warm-up, and ease yourself out of running mode. Factor in time for this at the end of every run, so you remember to do it.

 

3. Slap on the sunscreen

Unlike in the winter when you wrap up against the cold, you will have more skin exposed when running in the summer. So it’s important to protect exposed skin for the whole duration of your run to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

As Runner’s World explains:

“Opting for a sunscreen that is water and sweat-proof is a must for runners, while the SPF and UVA protection factor you go for depends on how long you’ll be exposed for. And while the lure of that golden glow might be drawing you in, just remember that there is no safe way to tan.”

 

4. Run early and/or late in the day, and in the shade

It can get remarkably hot underfoot very quickly when you’re out on the road and/or in the open. Road surfaces and sidewalks are highly efficient at absorbing heat. So when the ambient air temperature may be 25degrees, for example, concrete pavers temperatures can be 37degrees and asphalt 40degrees.

So, try and schedule your runs in the cool of early morning or the (relative) cool of early evening, and if possible, run on grass. If you run during the day, run in the shade as much as possible, and drink plenty of fluids to ensure you don’t get dehydrated.

Running in heat is very tiring and there is a risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion, both of which can require medical attention. If you feel tired, thirsty, over-hot or unwell, stop and sit in the shade, drink fluids, cool down gently and rest. You might like to pack a protein bar or similar to restore lost energy.

 

5. Replace your running shoes

Running shoes take a lot of impact and wear when you run, especially if you are putting in serious mileage on training. According to Nike, different types of runners need to replace their running shoes at different times:

Casual Runner

Weekly mileage: Up to 10 miles

Replace shoes: Every 7.5 to 12.5 months

 

Training for a 5K or 10K

Weekly mileage: Up to 15 miles

Replace shoes: Every 5 to 8 months

 

Training for a Half Marathon

Weekly mileage: 20+ miles

Replace shoes: Every 4 to 6 months

 

Training for a Marathon

Weekly mileage: 40+ miles

Replace shoes: Every 2 to 3 months

Other factors include the type of surfaces you are running on, your own body weight and how you store your running shoes.

If your shoes are showing signs of wear, they will probably not be giving your feet the support and protection required, and you will become more prone to injury. Look for worn or uneven soles, damaged uppers, and if you are experiencing any pain in your lower body joints after running.

 

6. Update your orthotics

If you wear custom orthotics for every day or even just for running, they also may need replacing every year or even six months. Since custom orthotics are moulded to your feet, they provide the perfect fit at the time they are made, but not necessarily for ever!

Apart from everyday wear and tear, you may have changed your gait or running style, or your feet have changed size or shape for any reason. if so, your orthotics need replacing with a new pair. Contact your nearest Hunt Footcare clinic to make and custom orthotics appointment.

 

7. Socks and summer running

Socks are as vital during the summer as in the winter to keep your feet protected and drier. You have 250,000 sweat glands in your feet, so your socks need to wick away that sweat, and provide ventilation to your feet as much as possible. That doesn’t necessarily mean cotton socks. As a fabric, cotton absorbs a lot of moisture and can easily cause blisters.

Look for mixed fibre socks that fit well so your feet do not slip in your running shoes, and with cushioned areas to absorb impact. Odour-control is also a useful feature in the summer!

Don’t dismiss the importance of knee high running socks with compression, to help reduce swelling and keep muscles at a constant temperature. In addition, longer socks will protect your legs against brambles and undergrowth when running cross country or along trails through woods etc.

Whatever socks you choose, take them off when you have completed your run. Wash your feet, dry with a towel, and pop on a clean fresh pair of socks. Also allow your running shoes to dry properly in a well-ventilated area before your next run.

 

8. Injured yourself running? Come and see us soonest

If you sustain an injury when running, make an appointment at one of our foot clinics for expert care and advice. We’re happy to help with any form of foot injury, strain, sprain or heel pain.

Simply contact your nearest Hunt Footcare clinic to make an appointment.

Published On: May 29, 2024