It’s getting so hot… I’m gonna take my clothes off!
Ahh… no one wants to see that. But truly, summers in Virginia are obnoxiously hot and humid. If you’re in your late 40’s and a woman like me, you’re likely also dealing with some perimenopausal personal summers to layer on top of the already brutal summer heat. Even if you’re not burdened by an aging hormonal system, it’s still easy to become overwhelmed by the heat while running. And since climate change is real, these hot temperatures aren’t going anywhere.
We can’t control Mother Nature, but we can prepare for whatever oppressive conditions she may offer us as we train for fall races over the summer months.
I shared part one of this post with you a few weeks ago which focused on choosing the best hydration vessels and electrolyte replacements. Included in this post are a few maintenance tips, too, to make sure your vessels are clean and in good shape for training!
So now, let’s talk about the other things you can control about summer running: clothing, sun protection, and chafe prevention!
Let’s begin with your running clothes!
- Wear technical fabrics meant to wick moisture. This will keep you cooler than cotton.
- Singlets are ideal for beating the heat.
- Keep seams in your running shorts to a minimum.
- Speaking of seams, especially for ladies, make sure that your underwear are also technical and seamless! (Yes, lady parts chafe.) My current favorites are made by Reebok, and are available at Walmart and Amazon.
- Make sure that the seams in your clothing are flat, not raised. Raised seams will flip and cause chafing.
- If you are prone to chafing between your thighs, try running in bike shorts. They provide a physical barrier to the rubbing! My favorites come from Old Navy.
- Don’t forget about your socks. Make sure you choose a pair specific for running. I find that certain brands work better with certain shoes.
If you’re running in the summer sun, you need to protect yourself!
- Wear sunscreen, especially if you will be running in peak sun exposure hours from 10am-2pm. I admittedly have a difficult time with this, since I have an aversion to the smell of chemical sunscreens. I use a mineral based one instead.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection. This saves your eyes from exposure as well as saves energy you expend by squinting. We need all of our energy for running! My favorites? Goodr. They are both polarized and provide UV protection. Designed for running, they don’t bounce, and are inexpensive enough that you won’t be devastated if you lose a pair on a run.
- Wear a hat. You all know by now that I’m a huge fan of Boco Gear hats! In the summer, I love a visor. I get the coolness of an uncovered head with the benefits of protection from the glare of the sun. If it’s raining, I trade my visor for a full hat. Boco Gear makes technical run hats and truckers to suit anyone’s personal style!
And lastly, the rub is no good! Protect yourself from chafing with these tips:
- See the above for clothing choices! Chafe protection starts here!
- You will soon figure out all the places that chafe the first time you take a shower after a hot run. For “hot” spots, healing is fastest with either Desitin or Rip Fix.
- Now that you know where these chafing spots are, use an anti-chafing balm in these areas to prevent the damage! My current favorite is Sport Shield, which is an easy to use roll-on. I like Body Glide lotion for my feet. There are so many brands on the market, it’s worth trying more than one to find what works best for you.
- My top chafing spots on long runs?
- Front bra band line
- Inner upper arms
- Inner thighs
- Alternatively, especially if you are racing in the heat or rain, you can cover the places where you know you will chafe with KT tape. Don’t stretch the tape; just lay it down. I like to tape along the front bra band line and on the insides of the balls of my feet, as these are always hot spots for me that are easily taped.
- Men, you may want to invest in a pack of band-aids to cover your nipples. This is one time the ladies are lucky; our bras typically save us from the plague of bloody nipples on our runs!
The summer season is almost here! Make sure you are prepared, especially as we enter marathon training season. But if you wear the right gear, shield yourself from the sun, and take steps to prevent chafing, you will be a lot more comfortable during your summer runs. You will also need to adjust your speed and performance expectations when running in the heat and humidity. And don’t forget to stay hydrated and replace electrolytes! Happy running!
Another “hot tip” if you are on a supported run: put ice in your sports bra, ladies! Such a relief for a few minutes.
Just a reminder that I have a discount code for SaltStick products: Anne2022 earns you 20% off! They just added an electrolyte drink to their line of amazing products to complement their salt tabs and Fast Chews! And they are vegan and super tasty!
Are you training for a fall race? The work begins in the summer! Hopefully these tips are helpful!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.