Keep Fit: Summer Running, Had Me a Blast

Keep cool running this summer
Keep cool running this summer, Photo: Pixland/Pixland/Thinkstock

Back in March, the Dan’s Papers production manager printed out a “Someecard” that said something like, “The first person to complain that it’s too hot this summer is going to get slapped in the face.”

Many of the Dan’s Papers staffers would be sporting a few bruises if we adhered to her calling. Definitely not me. I’ve always been a summer person, but especially after this winter, I’m savoring every moment of heat and humidity. Does anyone remember back to the not-so-distant past when the high was 7 degrees? Seven. I’ll take 97 degrees over that any day.

Running in the heat has never really bothered me, because we’re fortunate enough to live where the mornings and evenings generally provide cool enough temperatures for outdoor runs to be pleasant, albeit sweaty. I think I’m a bit of an anomaly in that regard. If you’re a cold-weather person hoping to stay fit this summer, consider these warm-weather, summer running tips:

Stay hydrated
Obviously, this is key. Drink water before you head out, far enough in advance so you won’t feel it sloshing around once you start. I don’t like to bring water with me, because I don’t enjoy carrying any extra gear, but if you’re going longer, take advantage of the number of public parks and beaches and hide water bottles along the route. Just remember to circle back and recycle everything!

Be prepared for the sun
Wear sweat-proof sunscreen. Or, if you’re running by the beach, consider wearing a cap to mitigate the glare. (But if it’s really hot out, remember that wearing a hat will also trap heat.) I have a special running sweat hat. It smells awful, but it’s ideal for beach runs.

Don’t be so hard on yourself
The general rule of thumb is that for every 10 degrees above 55 the temp hits, marathon pace increases by 1.5 to 3%. If you’re serious about training, save speed work, not distance work, for hot days.

Run on the beach
Check the tide tables, and head to the ocean as close to dead low tide as possible. The sand nearest the whitewater will be tightly packed, and running along the water’s edge will feel like trail running. Plus, the breeze is coolest at the ocean, and at times you can tell that it just bounced off the sea’s surface. If it’s still too hot to beach run, intersperse your workout with frequent dips in the ocean. Swim to build up arm strength.

Find other ways to stay active
Since I’m not in training for any particular race at the moment, running daily doesn’t feel like an obligation. So, if it’s just too humid and the sun is burning just too bright, I’ll find another way to sweat. Switching up your fitness routine also gives the muscles used most in running a rest, and, depending upon what you do, it can help you stretch and strengthen, thereby increasing overall fitness. Lately, I’ve been enjoying yoga in the vines at Wölffer Estate Vineyard—classes are held daily—and stand-up paddleboarding on Mecox Bay. On occasion, I’ve headed to a barre class, which is a great toning workout.

Join a running group
If you need the extra motivation, get with a group of like-minded runners to help push you along. Gubbins Running Ahead hosts run clubs every Sunday at 8 a.m., leaving from the East Hampton store. They map out out-and-back runs that cover two distances, intended to help people prep for the Hamptons Marathon and Half Marathon in September. Call 631-324-3239 for more information and for the week’s distances.

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