Tips for Running in the Heat of Summer
Summer is just around the corner. And, if you live in Arizona, then you already know what that means – four months of triple-digit temperatures!
Now, some of you may already be planning on starting (or continuing) your running routine in a climate-controlled gym environment in order to beat the heat, but for others, there’s really just no substitute for the great outdoors – even when that fresh air feels like it’s coming straight from the oven.
And if you fall under the category of “diehard pavement pounders and trail runners,” that’s awesome! But you should still keep some things in mind: running in the sunshine may be good for the soul, but not so much for the feet.
The good news is that you can count on our team of expert podiatrists to not only compile a helpful list with all you need to know about protecting your feet from the summer heat, but also provide any foot and ankle care you need to make sure you keep putting your best foot forward during your summer running routine.
Let’s get right to it!
Choose the Right Kicks
Sounds like a no brainer, right? Well the truth is that we often are guilty of wearing our favorite pair of kicks until they start falling apart – and that’s a huge mistake.
Wearing shoes that “have seen their days” will increase your risk of suffering from foot and ankle injuries while you run, from ingrown toenails to ankle sprains. This can come as a sudden trauma, as well as gradually (overuse injury). But the fact of the matter is old, worn-out shoes will not offer the proper support, cushioning, or protection your feet and ankles need in order to endure the constant impact that comes with running.
We recommend that you ditch your running shoes every 300-500 miles – this is when the cushioning is likely to have become worn out. In fact, the summer season is a great time to invest in new shoes. In the heat, our feet expand quicker and further so those shoes you bought in the winter (which felt so comfortable then) may start to feel tight. Yes, even running shoes have their own seasons, so it’s a good idea to invest in a summer pair.
Don’t Forget About Your Socks
As important as it is to wear comfortable, supportive shoes, choosing a good pair of socks will also go a long way in keeping your feet healthy and happy while you’re out there pounding the pavement.
Look for socks that wick moisture, cushion your feet and keep you cool. Styles that feature padding around the ankle, in the heel and the ball of the foot, as well as some arch support for added comfort, are always a good choice. To prevent blisters from developing between the toes, toe socks are also a great option.
And if you are looking for extra cooling, try dabbing a little bit of peppermint oil to the soles of your feet before putting your socks on. This will not only help keep your feet cool, but it can also prevent bacteria from developing as you run.
Trim Your Toenails the Right Way
Having neat and tidy toenails is something else you should consider before stuffing your feet in your running shoes.
Blisters and ingrown toenails can easily develop if your nails are left too long or trimmed improperly. And when you add the factor of sweat and heat, even fungal nails can start to make your running routine miserable.
Make clipping or cutting down your toenails a weekly habit. Trim them even with the edge of the toe, using sterilized tools (never share your equipment), and avoid cutting them in a curved shape. You can use a nail file to smooth out the edges if necessary.
Athlete’s foot, toenail fungus and other common skin and nail infections are often seen in runners.
Indeed, the warm, dark and damp environment of sweaty socks and shoes is a playground for fungi and infections. But that’s not the only way you can develop these pesky conditions. You can easily be exposed to bacteria by walking barefoot in damp communal floors, like lockers rooms and swimming pools.
Skin or nail infections can be more than just unsightly – they can become painful as well and prevent you from enjoying your running or jogging time. So you should always protect your feet while walking in public places – including your running club changing room – by wearing a light pair of flip flops or shower shoes. And be sure to dry between the toes after showering, too.
Avoid the “Stink”
While fungus will cause the main infection, yeasts may also develop and cause other symptoms, like foot odor.
That’s why good foot hygiene is so important. Though smelly feet won’t actually keep you from running, most of us don’t want to endure the smells of our hard work.
After every run, make sure you wash your feet with warm, soapy water. Make sure to clean between the toes and thoroughly dry those areas when you are done. You should also moisturize your feet after every wash (avoiding those areas between the toes).
Try creams or lotions which contain bifonazole. These solutions provide relief from itching and redness by penetrating deep into the skin to kill fungi and treat infections.
It goes without saying that you need to pay extra attention to staying hydrated in hot weather.
The amount of water you need may vary depending on your body mass, the day’s temperature and the intensity of your workout. But, as a rule of thumb, you should drink about half a liter of water before you start, and half a liter for every hour you run in order to maintain proper hydration.
However, you should make sure to not drink too much water – over-hydration can dilute your body’s blood sodium levels, causing hyponatremia. The best way to know how much water you need is to follow your thirst – your body is built with an amazing water-balancing mechanism.
Need Help? We Are Here for You!
Just because temperatures are rising doesn’t mean that you have to stop running or resort to indoor activities in order to stay active. Just keep your feet in mind when you are preparing to run that trail or that local 5K. And should any concerning symptoms start to develop on your feet or ankles, please don’t hesitate to come visit one of our five convenient Arizona locations.
Simply call us at (480) 917-2300 to schedule an appointment, or fill out our handy request from online to have one of our trained staff members reach out to you.