It’s mid-July and, for most of us, this means the heat is more oppressive than our current presidential regime. It may feel like all physical activities out of doors have to wait until the fall, but don’t worry! We’re here to teach you how to jog even in the soupy humidity of summer.
- Pick the best time
In the dog days of summer, there is no ‘right’ time to go brutalize your body with outdoor cardio. But there are some times of day that are less terrible than others.
If you can stomach an early wakeup, this may be your best bet. Where I live, it’s usually close to eighty degrees by 8:30 in the morning, so be ambitious and shoot for seven. At that point, you might as well do six-thirty. Hell, why go to sleep at all? Just pull an all-nighter and go running at three a.m.
Alternatively, you can go for a nighttime run. This is what I do since I am not a morning person and I like to give my family the slip right around the kids’ bedtime. Just be smart and be safe – wear some reflective stuff on your clothes if your running route has traffic, and make sure you’re running in a safe area. If you have a giant dog like I do, bring him along. No one has to know he’s actually just a giant useless muppet.
- Prepare yourself mentally for suffering
Since you’re reading this post, I’m assuming you’re not some deviant who enjoys cardio. Good, me neither. One thing I’ve learned since starting running is I never actually have a good time during the run. Some people go on about ‘runner’s highs’ and ‘the satisfaction of a job well done,’ but when I run, I am pissed. When I run in the summer, I am more pissed, because I’m sweating and I fucking loathe sweating.
A good way to prepare for the hell of a summertime jog is to manage your expectations. Just go into it expecting that you’re going to be miserable for the next half an hour. Know that you will sweat, your hair will be gross, your thighs will rub together, your throat will hurt, and your carefully curated Spotify playlist will not be enough to distract you from the hell you’ve wrought upon yourself.
Then, when you stumble into your house red-faced and wheezing, you at least won’t be disappointed.
- Prepare yourself physically for suffering
Don’t leave your house without chugging, like, at least sixteen ounces of water. I mean it. Don’t drink so much that you’re physically uncomfortable, but do chug a glass or so of water before you leave. Also, you’re not seventeen and naturally bendy anymore – stretch. You’re welcome.
- Make a playlist
Maybe you’re the kind of person who can run without music but honestly, that’s messed up and I don’t think I believe you. Before you set out on your miserable summertime jog, cue up a playlist full of distracting, upbeat songs that will trick your brain into thinking it’s having a good time. Julia Michaels is always a hit, or you can borrow our HTLYT Summertime Running playlist. Spoiler alert: it’s got Julia Michaels on it.
- Find your motivation
Are you trying to get in shape? Lose weight? Gain muscle? Be a boss ass b? Whatever your reasoning, find motivation before you run and remember it during the run.
For me, my motivation is just doing it. Until the past few years, I have had a serious problem with follow-through. Running a 5k was a goal I plucked out of thin air and the Couch to 5k app was my motivation. Once I succeeded, I felt pretty invincible.
Maybe your motivation is just ‘to do it’ too, but either way, visualize your end goal and go chase it. Chase it in that muggy, muggy heat.
- Concede to the heat – run indoors
If jogging outside in the summer sucks entirely too much for you to maintain, don’t you worry your beautiful little head. I have great news for you: treadmills! Find a local gym – most of them these days are pretty cheap, or at least offer free trial membership for you to abuse – and run like the wind on a treadmill.
The positives are endless: air conditioning, television, lazily pressing the increase/decrease incline buttons, slowing your speed wayyyy down at random intervals so you can text. This may be the lazy woman’s way of running but hey, some run is better than no run. Do what you gotta do.
How do you handle your summertime running? Do you even bother, or do you have other cardio options that you prefer? Let us know! Send us a message on Instagram @howtolearnyourtwenties or tweet us @htlyt.
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photo courtesy of taylor hernandez.