A Trainer's Essential Checklist For Your Best Summer Runs Yet

Photo by Jorge Quinteros

Summer is asking for you out on a hot date. It’s time to lace up your sneakers, cue up that playlist, and head outside for your best run ever. As a master trainer and running pro, I know that a little preparation goes a long way in making your warm-weather runs that much better. Here are 12 little tricks that will help you go the distance this season:

1. Hydrate BEFORE you head out.

The most common mistake runners make is going out without having hydrated properly beforehand. Remember: If you’re thirsty when you start, you’re already dehydrated.

2. Wear a bandana.

This will keep the sweat from going into your eyes and double as a cloth to wipe your hands on if needed—sweaty hands and iPhones are a tough combo! If you skip the shirt and only have your sports bra, then this accessory is a game changer. Oh yea, it will also make you look like a badass.

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3. Run for a purpose.

For this year’s Global Running Day, I teamed up with Westin Hotels & Resorts and Charity Miles—an app that allows users to earn money for charity with every mile logged—in order to give back. A group of passionate New Yorkers and I just downloaded the Charity Miles app, choose a charity, and started running. It added a serious feel-good layer to the workout and I’m definitely going to keep using the app on all my runs moving forward. And you can too!

Bonus: From now until the end of August, Westin will donate a $1 per mile for every guest who runs with the app during their stay.

4. Choose time of day that’s cooler.

In the hottest days of the year, you should definitely be lacing up in the early morning or as/after the sun goes down.

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5. If you do have to run mid-day, be prepared.

If you have to run while the sun is at its highest height of the day, make sure to seek shade as much as possible, lather on the SPF 30 (with Zinc!), and apply chapstick with zinc. It wouldn’t hurt to take a bottle of water with an electrolyte tablet in it to replenish your salt levels as you sweat too.

You can also take a canteen filled with ice cubes so you can pop one in your mouth, your sports bra, or even in your headband as you go. A little cool down goes a long way during those dog days of summer.

6. Choose a route with water fountains.

Humans sweat to cool ourselves off, so we should embrace it but know that every drop of sweat should be replenished. However, don’t drink too much mid-run—just enough to wet your mouth. You don’t want it to slosh around your stomach while you run and cause gastrointestinal stress.

7. Fuel up before hand.

Watermelon is such an amazing seasonal pre-workout snack! It’s water-dense and hydrating, plus its high glycemic index provides a solid dose of glucose for your body to use as fuel right away. I suggest this one to all my clients.

You know your watermelon is in season when it’s bright red, crisp, and hollow when you knock on it. Buy organic and source local farmers if you can.

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8. Wear the right fabrics.

Photo by Jorge Quinteros

Cotton is NOT the answer here. That once dry, lightweight t-shirt will quickly be soaked and heavy—and your body will have a harder time cooling itself. Instead, look for water-resistant materials.

9. Start a new happy hour tradition.

Grab a friend and head to the trail instead of the bar. And if you still want the glass of rose, have your run end there! It’s all about balance!

Speaking of friends, running with others is such a great way to make the time go faster. I love getting lost in conversation at a casual pace with my friends, and busting out a harder run with someone will connect you on deep level too.

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10. Stick with it—even when you’re on the road.

While it can be tempting to throw your routine out the window when you go on vacation, I’ve actually found that running is the best ways to explore a new place. Leaving your headphones in the hotel room and heading out to listen and interact with your new surroundings is incredibly liberating. And for those days when the weather is less than ideal, hotels like Westin make it easy to stick with your wellness commitment inside. Their fitness studios are decked out with cutting-edge equipment like TRX and Peloton bikes, and they’ll even lend you some workout gear if you left yours at home.

11. Ditch your music and run with a coach.

I love the option of turning on a guided run outside, especially if you want an extra dose of inspiration or are training for a race.

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12. Think outside the box.

Running is a great time to listen to music, yes, but you can also use it to get inspired by your favorite podcast, get lost in an audio book, or call a loved one. I see long, casual runs as a moment to catch up with my friends or family as I log miles. Who knows, the call might even inspire them to get out and move that day too!

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