The summer is the season when running seems most appealing, but the fine weather brings with it a range of unique challenges that you need to factor into your preparations.
Even seasoned runners need to be reminded of the proper running gear to wear and carry when the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising, so here is a look at the most impactful investments you can make this summer.
Sunglasses & sunscreen
Ultraviolet (UV) light is harmful to our bodies in various ways, and it is especially dangerous for runners because of the amount of time you will be exposed to it during the warmer months.
First and foremost, you should invest in sunglasses for running which will not just keep the damaging rays from getting through to your retinas, but which will also be designed to provide comfort and convenience in this context. A standard pair of cheap shades will not be suitable; get runner-specific sunglasses and see what a difference they make.
Secondly, do not forget to wear sunscreen when you are out for a run, and also to top up your coverage regularly to get complete protection. If you are running, you are not really going to be worried about getting a tan, and in fact sun damage to your skin not only causes premature signs of aging, but is of course likely to increase your risk of cancer, so there are several reasons to take this advice.
When it comes to sunscreen, remember to choose one with a high protection factor. 30 is a good starting point, but 50 is best to give you more comprehensive shielding from UV rays. Also make sure that it is waterproof, as this will prevent your sweat from causing it to slide off your skin too soon.
Shoes & socks
Serious runners will have several pairs of shoes to accommodate different weather conditions and different seasons. The same goes for the socks you pick, as the properties of the gear that come in direct contact with your feet will clearly determine both your performance and your comfort during a run.
Look for lighter weight, breathable shoes which also feature tread that is suited to the kind of surface you will be encountering. Also snap up socks that are made with synthetic, moisture-wicking fabrics that will keep your feet cool, dry and free from blisters for as long as possible.
When the sun is out, you will sweat more as you run, so staying hydrated and replacing the fluids that you are losing through exercise is essential.
There are lots of different products designed around helping runners achieve just that, from simple water bottles to full blown hydration packs which are worn via a harness. You simply need to select the solution that fits your budget and your needs.
Tops & bottoms
Once again, your choice of tops and bottoms for summer running should be influenced by how much you want to spend and what type of environment you are expecting to encounter. However, there are some general rules for choosing clothing for this season that are worth sticking to.
Steering clear of anything that is 100 percent cotton is a must, because this ultra-absorbent natural material will remain damp with sweat and will inevitably lead to chafing and discomfort.
Synthetic fibers are a better choice, and a tight-fitting underlayer is a worthwhile investment to minimize friction. Also remember that long-sleeved tops and running tights can be great for UV protection by covering your skin, while still being breathable and attractive.