Summer's here, even if the calendar doesn't yet say so.
Personally, it's my favorite season for running. Yes, it's hot. It's also, more often than not, quite humid. Although it's not always comfortable, I don't have to guess how to dress for it (#GlassHalfFull).
Summer running has its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to health and safety. Most have worked hard to get to a certain level of fitness, and most aren't willing to give all that up for the sake of staying (safely) inside.
It IS possible to continue running outdoors, even in the heat of summer...here are a few suggestions to consider:
First of all, lower your expectations. While some embrace the heat (or, at the very least, can tolerate it without much issue), the warmer conditions of summer warrant care and caution. In other words, run slow(er) if you're feeling exerted during a training run. If you're racing, accept that a PR may not be in the books, nor a wise conquest, on an especially hot and humid day.
You may need to shorten your distance, at least outdoors. Maybe do a couple miles indoors, before heading outside. Conversely, there's nothing wrong with breaking up your run into shorter segments (with walk or hydration breaks), or even running half of your run outside and finishing up inside, on a treadmill or indoor track.
Consider running earlier than usual. Even though it may still be hot and humid before the sunrise, not having direct sun can make those conditions more bearable. A bonus? Less traffic.
Seek out the shade. Have you ever tried running on the more "shaded" side of a tree-lined street? You may need to veer onto the grass, depending on the direction of the traffic, but staying out of the sun may give you some relief. Or, hit up a trail, with plenty of tree cover, through a woodland area.
Please, pretty please, bring along water and/or electrolytes. Even stashing water along your route (in the crooks of trees, or behind a fence or street sign) may help you stay hydrated.
There's no shame in walking. Seriously, walking is alright and (often times) wise. If you're training for a long-distance race, time on your feet trumps time "running." Besides, if it's really warm, the effort required to walk (or even to run at a slower pace) may be equal to that of running faster under ideal conditions.
Inside is alright if you're not acclimated to the conditions, or if the heat index is especially high. A lot of us have treadmills and, on an unrealistically hot/humid day, it may be your best option for a run.
Bottom line, don't be a hero. There are no #BadAssSummerRunner awards dolled out, nor is there a Hot Weather Hall of Fame for those who are able to keep their runs outside. Just because someone (or several others) have a higher tolerance of heat doesn't mean you have to strive to have one as well. We're all different, and some of us can take the heat easier than others. Follow your gut instinct and do what works best for YOU.