There are certainly benefits to the warmer months, but there is an ugly side of summer running. Heat, humidity, and sun bring their share of less-than-sexy side effects and conditions, and I’m sure most of us runners can relate. Sores, burn, swelling, and irritations are all part of the summer running game, but we don’t have to let that ruin our miles.
While we covered how sweat isn’t the worst thing in the world, it’s also not a favorite, either. Your mileage may vary, but in our Florida summers, sweat starts the minute you walk out the door. Even a quick three-miler can leave you soaked. Ick. Stay hydrated and shower after your runs.
Sweat and rubbing can lead to chafing. For those of us who have experienced this skin irritation, it goes pretty much hand-in-hand with warm weather running. I’ll spare you photos, especially because I’m suffering from a pretty nasty case of this right now. Keep your skin as dry as possible, and wear moisture-wicking clothes while working out (no cotton!). Make sure that your elastic and spandex items are in good condition – an old sports bra can cause all sorts of chafing issues. If you have parts that rub, be sure to hit them with a bit of Body Glide or similar lubricant to prevent soreness. And just know that if you do chafe, it’s ok to cry in the shower (if you know, you know).
Blisters and Hot Spots
Again, I’ll spare you photos, but blisters and hot spots are more items on the ugly side of summer running. Both of these painful and inconvenient conditions are caused by rubbing, moisture, and swelling. Make sure you are wearing high-quality running socks that are in good condition, wick, and don’t slip around. Additionally, make sure your shoes are a size to properly accommodate any extra swelling brought on by the heat. You can use moleskin, kinesiology tape, or medical adhesive to protect any blisters or hot spots until they heal.
Water retention from the additional heat and humidity is another attractive side effect to wish we can look forward. Sausage fingers are annoying, sometimes painful, and absolutely unattractive. Again, keep drinking water, get enough electrolytes, and try to avoid wearing rings that can get stuck. I prefer a silicone wedding band stack if I need to wear jewelry while running.
Sunburn and Runners’ Tan Lines
Since I am allergic to sunscreen, I try to cover up as much as possible and run when the sun is not quite so strong. It’s important to protect yourself the best you can, with hats, sunglasses, and clothing. That being said, I sport a banging runners’ tan, with very distinct lines at my sock, shorts, and sports bra/tank lines, and a nice spot on my wrist where my Garmin sits.
My hair is miserable in the summer. Even on lower activity days, I have to wash it daily to avoid it getting greasy or stinky. There is no amount of dry shampoo that can handle this weather. Add to that more time in the sun, and pool or beach time, and we are looking at some super unhappy tresses for the summer months. I try to limit use of product, cut down on blow drying and flat ironing, and embrace the messy bun until things calm down.
Every season brings its own challenges, and this is what typically comes with summer.
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What things do you not appreciate about summer running?