There are few things more motivating for a runner than warm weather and sunny skies. But as the days heat up in Toronto, summer running can come with new challenges – hello stomach slosh, stinky clothes, and chafe! Fortunately we are here to give you the best tips on how to maximize your summer training (yes, there are serious benefits to running in the heat!), and make running on even the hottest days feel like a breeze.
Plot Your Route
The only shade we like around here is the type that protects you from the hot summer sun! Toronto has many wooded areas that are inaccessible during snowy weather, but offer ample shade and scenic views in the warmer months. The Don Valley, the Beltline, and High Park all offer great options for a shady run, and some variances in terrain that you don’t normally find on the city streets. Here is a route that we are loving right now! The sun can be strong on the Martin Goodman Trail in the summer, but on windier days or dawn/dusk hours you can often catch a cool breeze off the lake.
Chafe is the Enemy!
Chafe – a painful rash that often happens when sweaty, bare skin rubs together – is a common complaint about summer running. You can help guard against chafe by using products like Body Glide, which provides a protective barrier on the skin so your thighs, nipples, and buns don’t get rubbed the wrong way while you run!
Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Water Bottle Even Closer
There are a few things to consider when it comes to hydration. We highly recommend running with a water bottle, hydration vest, or hydration belt. You sweat considerably more in warmer (and more humid) weather, and it’s vital to be hydrating throughout your run. Refill your bottle whenever you get a chance, since you never know when your next opportunity to find a fountain will be. Check out ‘Quench,’ which is a free app that connects you with the nearest bottle refill station or fountain in the GTA. Take smaller sips during your run, rather than stopping and gulping large quantities, which can lead to stomach slosh. And if you’re ever in a pinch, remember that friends let friends share water!
Swap Out Your Cash for Cards
Most of us are used to stashing some cash in a pocket, but in the summer you may want to switch things up and carry a credit or debit card. Your clothes can end up surprisingly soaked, and so will anything that’s in your pockets. You can use a plastic bag to hold anything that you don’t want getting too wet. Don’t underestimate just how sweaty you can get on a hot and humid day!
Replace Lost Electrolytes
When you sweat, minerals like sodium and potassium (often referred to as “electrolytes”) are carried out of the body. Being low on electrolytes can lead to nasty symptoms like headache, muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness, so it’s important to be replacing these electrolytes during and after excessive sweating. Products like Nuun, the Huma+ gels, and Gu sodium tablets are all helpful products to ensure that you are getting these vital minerals back into your body.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Ok, so “slow and steady” doesn’t always win the race, but you get the point! Our bodies work incredibly hard to cool themselves down, and if you aren’t listening to your body while you run, it’s easy to overheat. This can lead to dizziness, nausea, and even fainting spells. Your pacing typically needs to be adjusted for the heat by as much as 15-30 seconds. Even though you’re moving more slowly, your body is working just as hard, and the benefits will be the same.
Use the heat adjustment feature found in the advanced settings in this pace calculator to get an estimate of your paces on a hot day!
After many months of frigid temperatures, icy streets, and torrential downpours, the summer feels like a brief window of paradise for Toronto runners! Keep these tips in mind on your next hot ‘n’ spicy run, and you’ll be sure to keep cool and maximize your training this summer!