When summer hits, you want to make the most of it. It’s warm, the sun is shining, and it’s a great opportunity to get natural light exposure, improving sleep, elevating mood, and delivering a healthy dose of vitamin D.
We’re basically saying that you want to take this opportunity to ditch the same old indoor treadmill runs you’ve been doing throughout winter and spring, and get some outdoor runs in.
Whether you’re running along the beach, on a trail, or just around the neighborhood, running outdoors is much more fun and can be a lot more rewarding.
You want to make sure you set up for your outdoor runs a little differently, though. It’s not the same as on the treadmill, and planning just a little bit can help you maximize your benefits and enjoyment from an outdoor run.
Here are five key tips to take on board to ensure you ace your outdoor circuit.
1. Download a Running App
Treadmill running can be a little boring, but there are advantages. Most of all, the treadmill constantly reads your pace, how far and how long you’ve been running, and more.
This gives you a benchmark to work from and a figure that motivates you to keep pushing yourself further.
You lose that constant reading right in front of you when you leave the treadmill. But you can achieve essentially the same thing with a running app.
An app like Nike Run Club, for example, gives you data such as pace, distance, elevation, heart rate, and mile splits - data you can use to track your progress and push to new personal bests.
Strava is another good one, that helps you track your results and then share them to see where you stack up against other runners.
2. Decide on a Route
Outdoor running is a lot more rewarding when you pick a route beforehand.
You could just step out of your front door and start running. But this leads to doubt, indecision, and hesitation, all of which take away from your performance.
It also takes away from the mental release of running, since your mind is constantly occupied by where you’re going next.
Get on Google Maps before you go and plot out your route. This will let you relax and enjoy your run, as well as focus on beating your personal best for the same route.
3. Get the Right Shoes
Running shoes are important no matter where you’re running. But if you’re outside, it’s even more crucial that you’ve got a good pair of shoes and that they’re the right choice for the surface.
Well-fitting shoes tailored for the environment will make running (in particular, recovering from your run) much more enjoyable.
Generally speaking, running on the sidewalk or through the park, the surface is going to be a lot less even than on the treadmill.
Your shoes will help protect against blistered feet or knee and ankle injuries.
But if you’re running somewhere else, you might need a different shoe. Trail running, for example, will require a different type of shoe to road running. The same thing goes if you plan to run on grass or sand.
4. You Might Need Sunscreen
The one thing you shouldn’t forget for a mid-summer outdoor run is sunscreen.
While sunlight can be amazing for hormonal balance, circadian rhythm, vitamin D levels, and more, excessive exposure to the sun’s rays can also be quite harmful to the skin.
In extreme cases, you can develop skin cancer (i.e., melanoma). Even cloudy days produce enough UV rays to cause damage.
You can drastically reduce the risk of harmful effects - from cancers to painful sunburns - by applying a high-quality sunscreen before your run. Applying sunscreen a few minutes before you set off can save you a ton of regret later.
5. Avoid Dehydration
Our final tip - but one of the most important - is to make sure you hydrate thoroughly.
Hydration is always important when you work out, but about 10x so when you’re going for a run on a hot summer’s day.
Proper hydration will help increase performance, recovery, and help maintain energy levels after you’re done. It will also help avoid dehydration, which in some cases may lead to severe outcomes.
Drinking water is a start, but it will not fully replace what you lose when you sweat. Your sweat also contains a lot of minerals and nutrients, called electrolytes. You need to replace these electrolytes (potassium, sodium, and calcium) to properly refuel your body during and after a hot, intense workout.
A clean sports drink like our citrus electrolytes powder, Nakedade Citrus, is a perfect rehydration supplement for running outside in summer.
It delivers the key electrolytes you need to restore your electrolyte balance, along with a clean boost in energy in the form of low-glycemic sugars. You get the stamina you need to push through and complete your circuit, without the jitters and crashes later on.
Smart hydration means you’ll feel less post-run soreness, and be able to go faster, for longer - not to mention keeping you safe from the harmful effects of dehydration.
Combine this tip with the previous four to get in some beneficial and truly rewarding outdoor runs this summer.