16th Podcast

In this episode of the Podcast It's a long road we will talk about running in the summer. We will analyze the peculiarities and dangers of the season and mention the precautions we must take to make our training as safe as possible.


Hello my friends,

It is a fact that the better the weather and the longer the day, the more time and appetite we have to get out of our house and go for run. In general, the ideal conditions and the best seasons to go out for a run are none other than autumn and spring, so summer, due to the particularity of the season, carries many risks and we must be especially careful and take the corresponding precautions. After all, that's what all the big races are for Marathon and generally long distance they take place in autumn and spring for the most part.

Summer weather creates different and extreme challenges for runners, since the hot sun and intense heat are not the best allies for it. The body cannot perform as well in high temperatures and humidity levels. So expectations must be lowered and rates kept more reasonable.

To overcome these challenges, it needs the runners to approach their training a little differently, vary their schedule and understand the reasons why training becomes more difficult in the summer. Summer training is difficult for a number of reasons, including temperature, humidity and sun exposure.

Let's start with the last reason which is sun exposure and which is avoided if you choose either morning or evening workouts.

Personally throughout the year, on the weekends and especially in the summer, my training sessions take place very early in the morning. I don't mind waking up early and going for run, which also sets me in the mood for the rest of the day. It can be hard to wake up in the morning and go for a run or a bike ride, or even to the gym, but every beginning is hard until of course it becomes a habit. Even if I stay up a little late at night, the morning workout is not lost, since it changes my mood and generally gives me energy for the whole day. Waking up in the morning is not that easy, but especially in the summer I would say it's a one-way street for training.

Some of the reasons I do this are:
- I have empty stomach from sleeping at night and that's exactly how I do my training
– I believe that the maximum benefit you can get from your training is in the morning.
– I feel much fresher and even better after training and I especially enjoy my coffee and breakfast.
– I don't want to waste time from my family and I prefer everything to be done at the expense of my own personal time. So after my training I have the whole day ahead of me to spend with my family.
– The temperatures, especially in summer, are the lowest and ideal for running.

In the morning before you eat, glycogen levels (stored carbohydrates) in muscle and liver are too low. This is the most suitable environment to burn fat instead of carbohydrates, like energy. So far, everything shows that running in the morning on an empty stomach leads to a higher use of stored fat as an energy source to perform the exercise.
When you do aerobics in the morning, you not only burn fat during exercise, but you continue to burn fat at an increased rate after exercise. This is because a high-intensity aerobic workout raises your metabolic rate for a few hours after the workout.

The second reason, humidity is also a challenge. High humidity levels prevent sweat from evaporating from our skin, which is a powerful cooling mechanism. But even low humidity levels, often felt in drier environments, make running difficult because they increase fluid loss and dehydration. Personally, I typically remember a summer morning training session on the beach in Thessaloniki where, due to the high levels of humidity, I felt intense discomfort and ended my training relatively early. 

Heat is clearly the third reason and I would say the biggest obstacle to summer running.
Heat cramps are muscle cramps caused by large losses of fluids and electrolytes. They are much more common after running than during, but they are not serious. Stay hydrated and consume plenty of electrolytes with sports drinks.

THE dehydration it is common, but luckily most of the time not so serious, since you are at risk of dizziness, fatigue and disorientation. Always make sure you start every run adequately hydrated. Drink water or an isotonic drink often, preferably at the time of training, and replace lost fluids as quickly as possible after the end.

Hydration and energy intake they are also important both during training and during competition. During exercise, exact and absolute recommendations cannot be given for all exercisers, since there are many factors that can change their fluid needs. The basic characteristics of the exercise such as the type, intensity and duration of it, the temperature and humidity of the environment in which the competition takes place, the different perspiration rate from person to person, as well as the different possibilities of fluid consumption from sport to sport , are the main ones.

Therefore, it is not possible to have a general and universal recommendation as given to the trainees before the start of the exercise, which covers the needs of the entire trainee population and for this reason, it is proposed to create and use an individualized hydration protocol, based on the special requirements of each sport, but also the needs of the athlete.

A general, recommended fluid consumption rate during prolonged duration aerobic exercise, amounts to 400 to 800 ml per hour. Finally, it is worth noting that studies show that liquids that are cool and in accordance with the taste preferences of the athlete enhance their consumption, as well as that sports drinks are a "smart" solution since they offer, along with fluid replenishment, energy through the carbohydrates they contain.

Heat exhaustion is a combination of dehydration, weakness, cramps, headache, nausea and high body temperature. If you experience these symptoms, stop running and get inside cooler temperatures away from the sun and hydrate as quickly as possible!

Heatstroke is the most serious of heat illnesses and requires immediate medical attention, with symptoms including disorientation, poor balance and lack of sweating.

In general we could say the following:

– Always wear a hat and sunglasses. The hat will protect you from the sun's rays and possible headaches, while the glasses will protect your eyes and keep good visual contact with the environment.
- Apply sunscreen all over your body and especially on your face. Choosing a sunscreen that is water and sweat resistant is essential for runners, and the SPF and UVA protection factor you choose depends on how long you will be exposed. In any case, prefer a sunscreen with a protection index of SPF 30 or higher.
– Wear light colors that reflect sunlight, not tight clothing and prefer synthetic fabrics that wick away moisture.
– Eat light meals during the day and prefer to do your training in the morning on an empty stomach. If you still train at night, make sure your last meal before exercise is at least 3 hours away.
– Run when conditions are cooler. Take advantage of the long summer days to run when the mercury is lower, ideally early morning or evening. We personally said I prefer the morning for even more reasons, but if you prefer the evening don't forget to wear reflective gear and keep your headphone volume low or turned off. In any case, avoid training between 12:00 noon and 18:00 in the afternoon.
– You should hold your body hydrated throughout the day and start the run properly hydrated. Water is of course the king of hydration, but also fresh fruit and vegetable juices during the day are a very good and healthy solution with few calories. Drinks and especially tea without sugar are a very good hydration solution and with zero calories. Soft drinks in moderation and choose those without sugar, so the calories are greatly reduced.
– Warmer temperatures mean increased fluid intake. Don't let yourself get dehydrated. Always stay hydrated during exercise and preferably with isotonic drinks, especially when the duration is longer than one hour. Try to have with you on the run in a water zone or isotonic. If you don't like carrying liquids, hide bottles along your route.
– In high temperatures, wet your neck. The water at that point helps to better regulate your body temperature. After all, you will have seen that in long-distance races the athletes wet their necks, since many nerves and blood vessels pass through this point, which help to regulate the temperature better.
– Continue to hydrate well after you stop running.
– Run where you feel comfortable and not necessarily at a certain pace. It's always important to listen to what your body is telling you.
– Revise them targets especially if you are going to participate in a race. Performance at high temperatures is lower.
– Prefer running on forest paths where there is shade and not on asphalt where the sun's energy is radiated back to our body.

A successful summer training season, however, leads to an even better autumn competition season.

Thank you so much for listening to me!

Until next time, Be well be healthy and always do what we love and what makes us feel good.

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