Summer running in Texas calls for both toughness and good judgment. But with a little planning and knowledge, you can achieve your running goals even in the summer heat.
By now you’ve trained on some sweltering days and perhaps even completed a race. With many more hot days ahead, let’s review some of the basics for summer running in Texas.
Summer Running in Texas Requires Acclimation
The key to Texas summer running lies in heat acclimation. According the consensus recommendation of sports medicine experts in one study, acclimation (or acclimatization) ranks as “the most important intervention one can adopt to reduce physiological strain and optimize performance.”
Adopt a Hydration Strategy
As the study above notes, dehydration can also derail athletic performance. Given its importance, you shouldn’t leave hydration to chance. Instead, develop a strategy to drink on the run.
Watch out for Hyponatremia
Ads for sports drinks would seem to indicate that there’s no such thing as too much hydration. However, the truth is you can drink too much water. Furthermore, overhydration can lead to hyponatremia, which can actually kill you. So plan to drink up, but not too much.
Plan to Sweat Early and Often
Summer running in Texas calls for sweat, sweat and more sweat. But don’t think of that as a negative. Sweating early and often likely means you’ve acclimated to the heat. Just make sure you dress properly to avoid unintended overexposure.
Protect Yourself Against the Sun
While the heat can kill you instantly, the sun holds dangers as well. You probably can’t avoid the sun altogether. However, you can time your runs to minimize exposure. And take a tip from Down Under and “Slip! Slop! Slap!” to keep skin cancer at bay.
Texas Summer Running Races
There are plenty more days left this summer to run a race in DFW or further afield. Congratulations, Texas summer runner — you rock. And if you ever start losing motivation, just think about the benefits of running in the Texas heat.