While we may not have the beaches of Sri Lanka (pictured above), we’re certainly witnessing something of a heatwave over here in the UK. And all we want to do is escape the office and head outside in the sunshine. Fantastic news for all of us who love nothing better than a run in the sun. But a word of caution here, running in the heat of the day can leave you feeling a bit worse for wear so take a few measures beforehand so you can the most of the heatwave.
Even if you’re not a fan of carrying a bottle of water, make sure you do when the temperatures rise. It goes without saying that you will sweat more and this isn’t a bad thing. You sweat to cool yourself down and keep your body’s temperature regulated. And here’s a fun fact that I want to share although it’s slightly off on a tangent: it’s no coincidence that countries in warmer climes use chillis in their cuisine. These bell-shaped fruits are not only packed with vitamin C but they also encourage your body to use its in-built cooling system to make you sweat so you feel cooler. Back to the hot weather and running. You’re going to be sweating out fluid and salts, which need to be replaced to ensure that you function well. I made the mistake a few years ago of not replacing my salts during a rather warm marathon and had to pull out. If you’re going out in the heat for around half an hour up to an hour, make sure you take a bottle of water.For those planning a longer run, it may be worth adding a few Zeros to the mixture (Disclaimer here: I am by no means a nutritionist and this is only my personal thoughts). Or you could try one of the varieties of coconut water available. I know it’s a bit of a Marmite situation but if you’re in the ‘For’ camp like me, a cool glass of coconut water could be just what you need to feel hydrated after a workout. Now I’ve tried a few versions and I have to say that Zico wins my vote every time. Not only does Zico taste great, it was also founded by a runner called Mark Rampolla who knew what he was talking about.
2. Cover up
Every time I see images of the competitors in the Marathon des Sables (the awesome race that takes part across several days in the desert) they are all wearing long-sleeve tops, hat and sunglasses. Now I’m guessing this is not as a fashion statement but more to protect themselves against falling victim to sunstroke and other heat-related illnesses. It’s up to you whether you follow suit but to really get the most out of your run, it’s worth at least wearing a pair of sunnies. I’m not a huge fan of wearing hats when I run because I don’t like feeling sweaty around my hairline but I do try and remember to pop on some sports sunglasses to protect my eyes and skin from the damaging effects of the sun. If you’re not used to the sunshine and are pretty pale at the mo, it’s also worth covering those areas that are more likely to burn when running in the sun such as your shoulders and thighs. Also try and go earlier or later in the daywhen it’s cooler to avoid the heat of the midday sun.
3. Slap on the sunscreen
Running is an awesome workout for your body but a fab and fit body in your 50s could be compromised by leather-like skin. Remember to make an extra effort to slap on the sunscreen – I normally go for SPF 30 and above on my body and face. Try and find a solution that is specifically made for activewear and sports. I have a stash of Riemann’s P20 and like to use it because their formula lasts all day and you’re less likely to sweat it off. Piz Buin also do an all day long creamy formula in SPF30, which helps protect your skin. I also use Ultrasun‘s product for the face because it’s pretty good in terms of sweat-resistance and I don’t want to look old before my time.
4. Don’t forget the bug spray
It feels like the bugs are out in force this year. I have already been bitten a number of times on my ankles and that’s simply when I’ve run through my local park. So as well as slapping on sun protection, it’s worth spraying yourself with insect repellent. You may feel like an advert for your local chemists but rather that than be eaten alive by hungry midges, mozzies and goodness knows what.
5. Wash it all off straight after
While I’m a huge fan of running in the sun, the mix of sweat, sunscreen and bug spray can build up and cause my skin – especially on my back – to react and breakout. I’m trying to ensure that straight after my workout I have the chance to remove all the gunk that causing the pores to get clogged up so I can wear those backless dresses in my wardrobe. My tip here would be to pay particular attention to those areas where you’re more likely to breakout. I try and have a shower straight after and regularly change my kit – and yes, the washing does pile up – or, if I’m racing, I’ll take some wet wipes just so I can remove all the build-up on my back. It’s not a huge problem but more of an irritation that I’d prefer to try and prevent than cure.
What are your tips for running in the sun? Let me know if you have any suggestions. Have fun!