Despite the blazing heat and humidity of summer, there are still many local races for runners of all levels to participate in. Sounds like fun but it can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. “Running when you’re not used to this kind of heat can easily lead to collapse,” says Mitch Norgart, president of Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org). He shares his best tips for running in the Southwest Florida sun.
What you wear matters.
Choose light and comfortable performance fabrics that will wick away perspiration, such as Lycra or Coolmax. Norgart also recommends lightweight running shoes. “Ditch the bigger, heavier training shoes unless you’re a really competitive 5K runner,” he says. “The lighter racing shoes are good for the summer.”
Protect your skin.
Consider using a sunscreen specifically geared for sports. “Those kinds of sunscreen won’t burn as much if you sweat and it gets in your eyes,” Norgart says, noting that you should always make sure to protect your ears and nose.
Drink 16 to 20 ounces of water or a sports beverage, which helps replenish your body’s store of electrolytes and sodium levels, half an hour to an hour before a race.