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Four easiest ways to help the body adjust to rising summery temperatures

When the temperatures begin to rise, it can take the body a while to adjust.

As the summer months approach, the mercury will inevitably start to rise. With hotter temperatures, Canadians can expect the humidex factor to take a leap as well. These changes will have a profound impact on how you run and train through warmer weather.

RELATED: How to adjust your training and racing for hot and humid conditions

The initial response of most runners is one of relief. Shedding layers usually feels great after several months of being all bundled up. But soon, those warm and pleasant spring runs will turn into hot and humid summer training sessions. As a result, the body (and mind) will need to adapt accordingly. Here are some guidelines and recommendations for transitioning to warmer weather running:

Take your time

First and foremost, know that acclimatizing to the heat takes time. Oftentimes, it can take as much as two-to-four weeks to adjust. There will definitely be a period of time when running in the heat feels unusually hard and uncomfortable. When this happens, know that this is temporary. One of the biggest changes the body makes to adjust for warmer weather is to increase the overall volume of blood. The best way to assist this process is to drink plenty of water.

Hydration

Being sufficiently hydrated is the number one way to stay safe when it gets hot outdoors. Dehydration can be a serious issue made worse by the higher rate of sweating while training in the heat. It’s essential to be in a well-hydrated state before each run. Drinking fluids (mostly water) throughout the day is the best way to maintain optimal hydration. Having clear to slightly yellow urine is a good sign that you are well hydrated but be sure to drink something containing electrolytes (specifically sodium and potassium) as well. Being properly hydrated and with sufficient electrolytes will help prevent cramps, side-stitches and GI issues.

Dress appropriately

Many runners make the mistake of heading out on a run overdressed. This then quickly means having to remove layers, carry shed clothes and possibly slow down or stop altogether. A general rule of thumb is to dress as if it were 10 degrees warmer than it actually is. Yes, you will likely be cold/chilled to start, but the body will quickly warm up and you should start to feel comfortable within five to ten minutes. Be sure to choose apparel made of light, moisture-wicking fabrics and materials and possibly those that are UV-resistant on sunny days. Wearing a hat and sunglasses is important for protecting your face and eyes and applying sunscreen will also help avoid sunburns.

Adjust your paces

Perhaps the simplest way to remain comfortable on hot and humid days is to slow down. Especially in the first few days and weeks of unseasonably warm weather, when the body has not fully acclimatized, taking it easy and running by feel is the best way to avoid overdoing it. Approach workouts and long runs with caution. You may not be able to run as fast/hard or as long as you think you can so be prepared to scale back your hard efforts until you begin to feel good.