Summer is officially here and it is the perfect time to focus on getting faster during your shorter distance runs, all while enjoying some extra rays. While building your endurance, be sure to pack along some water-resistant sunscreen, a water bottle and perhaps some refueling electrolytes in your LOCTOTE® backpack.
With the added challenge of heat and humidity, it is a great rule of thumb to start low and slow, especially during the first two weeks, and then increase your endurance over time. Fortunately, the summer offers various running surfaces and with these hot tips you’ll soon be a summer-running pro.
Perhaps one of the first surfaces that comes to mind when thinking about outdoor running is the synthetic track. The synthetic system is superior for shock absorption and is the ideal surface for a fast and high-performance run. It is terrific for sprints, (think beating a 100m dash personal record) although it might not be a good option for distance runs, as there are lots of turns and very minimal change in scenery. An additional benefit of synthetic tracks is that they are typically located in parks, providing a space for complete workout segments; whether it be an intense HITT session or a decompressing yoga practice.
A huge advantage of running on grass is that it is widely available and can be found at any and every nearby park. It is also soft and forgiving, meaning there will be less shock on your joints and is ideal for those sensitive to shin splints. Due to the various divots and dips, running on grass is a terrific training tool to engage those smaller stabilizing muscles. Because of this you may notice quicker fatigue and some additional soreness so it is especially important to include some stretching before and after your workout.
Concrete can be found nearly everywhere including sidewalks and parks. The beauty of running on concrete is the consistency and ability to attain and keep a good pace. Running on concrete is one of the hardest surfaces, so shock-absorbing running shoes are highly encouraged. Running on concrete is ideal for evening runs, as the air is crisp and the street lights are on to help guide your way. Running on concrete also provides an opportunity to explore new neighborhoods that you wouldn’t normally come across.
Running on the beach has impressive advantages including the calming views and sounds of the water, an ever-changing landscape and of course, an exceptional workout. Running on sand is more fatiguing than other surfaces. To get the most out of your run, aim to lift your knees high, keep a good posture and pace yourself. A great exercise for running on sand is the zig-zag method where the idea is to run a few minutes on soft dry sand and then a few minutes on denser damp sand to provide some variation in your workout. Hot tip: be sure to wear taller socks to avoid sand from getting in. The best part of running on the beach? The post-run, endorphin-high dip into a refreshingly cold lake or ocean.
Trail running is probably the most challenging surface, as there are plenty of trees, stones, divots and objects that a runner must be aware of. This ultimately provides a well-rounded agility workout due to increased leaping and jumping. Trail running is an ideal atmosphere to get grounded and enjoy nature and is perfect during the summer thanks to the shade from the trees.
Asphalt is similar to concrete in its consistency, yet it is more forgiving and offers slightly more bounce in your step, thereby making this surface superior for gaining speed and connecting movement with impact. Asphalt is also very accessible and convenient with a clearly routed path. Bear in mind that asphalt absorbs lots of heat, so it is best practice to keep the distance short on this surface during hot summer days.