If you want to run in the summer and not hate life, read this post.
Summer running is in a class of its own. The heat and humidity are intense, but in a weird way, I love it. Maybe I don’t love it quite as much when I’m pregnant, but in years’ past, I’ve loved finishing a run DRIPPING in sweat. (I shared my experience about running through pregnancy in this post!)
When the temperatures and humidity rise, I’m extra diligent about hydrating and fueling my body well. I wear good sunscreen and carry water with me, among other things. If you’re a fellow summer runner, you know that these things are absolutely vital to having a strong and safe run. While the basics of water and pre-run fuel are essential, there are also a few products I can’t run without that help ease the heat for me. I also have a whole post on 10 Tips to Not Hate Summer Running focused on good running habits like hydration and fueling, but this post is dedicated to the specific gear and products I use.
Summer Running Essentials
Hand held water bottle
A non-negotiable, truly. I love this one by Nathan (pictured below). It holds 18oz and has a great hand strap so you don’t have to grip it the entire time. I don’t wear water bottle belts often, mostly because I don’t love how they feel, but many other runners LOVE them. (Backcountry has a good variety of hydration belt styles.) Water is the single most essential thing to carry with you on a hot run, so whether it’s a hand held bottle, a belt or a vest, make sure you carry something. OR, plan to stop a few times along the way for water.
And if you can plan your running route to pass a water fountain, refill your water bottle mid-run. Even on 4-6 mile runs, I usually empty mine in the summer, drinking all the water before I’m home. So for longer runs, a water refill stop is mandatory. If there isn’t a water fountain (plus, many are turned off right now because of COVID) and you’re doing a longer run, circle back to your house or car to refill. Ice cold water mid-run is always extra nice.
I put a Nuun tablet in my water bottle for all summer runs (in addition to lots of ice!) These electrolyte tablets are a blend of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium bicarbonate. Electrolytes are especially key in the summer months to help regulate nerve and muscle function and maintain your water balance. Unfortunately, most sports drinks are full of sugar and while Gatorade and other similar sports drinks still provide electrolytes, they wreck my gut. Nuun tablets aren’t loaded with sugar, taste MUCH better and don’t leave my gut feeling like it got massaged by sandpaper. Pink Lemonade and Citrus Fruit are my favorite Nuun flavors.
You’ve GOT to keep the sun off your face to help keep you cool, but I find that hats are too hot for me since they can trap heat. I like wearing a visor for more breathability while still getting protection from the sun. (I have this visor.) I’ve heard some people soak their hats or visors in ice water or freeze them before a run to help keep them cool. Genius!
I’ve talked about these Goodr Sunglasses so many times because they’re the best running sunglasses I’ve ever used. They don’t slip (even when I’m absolutely SOAKED in sweat), they aren’t too tight, they come in a million different colors and they’re only $25-$35. I love my hot pink ones, but I also have them in green, orange, white, blue and black.
I’ve tried countless brands of running socks, but I really love these Lululemon socks. They’re super thin and breathable but still fitted. They come in 8 colors which is always fun too. 😉 These socks have the ActiveArch support that I love and a good ankle tab to help prevent rubbing and slipping at the back of my foot. It might sound silly, but thick socks are absolutely miserable in the heat, especially on long runs. Make sure you’ve got great running shoes as well. (This post lists my current rotation of running shoes.)
I chafe a lot more in the summer, and even more when pregnant! Aside from wearing fitted shorts to help protect my poor inner thighs, I have to use Body Glide before every run. I also tend to chafe at my bra line (front and back) so I apply it there as well.
Frozen Towel for Post-Run
Freezing a wet washcloth makes the best treat after a hot run. It helps get your core temperature back down and also just feels SO good.
If you’re running this summer, be smart. Respect the heat and don’t fall prey to thinking it couldn’t affect you. I hope these things help make your summer running enjoyable!
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