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Summer is in full swing and the days of single digit weather are long gone. If you’re like me and live below the Mason-Dixon Line then you’re experiencing a lot of heat and humidity, and no wind or rain. That’s the gist of summer weather where I’m from. I know, not necessarily the ideal running conditions, right? Well, there’s not really much we can do about the weather, so we might as well deal with it. Here are seven tips that will help you stay active and on track with your running workouts throughout the summer.

RISE AND SHINE. Yeah, yeah, we know. You’re not a morning person. You hate being up before the sun. Well, my guess is that you’re also not a heat stroke person, either. The best way to avoid the heat in the summer time is simple: get going before it does.

STAY UP LATE. If you absolutely refuse to get up before the sun, then your best bet is to wait until it goes down. Although it is generally stick hot and muggy during the summer evenings, it beats having the sun beaming down on you. It will save you 10-15 degrees, and one huge headache.

STAY HYDRATED. This could possibly be the most important of all, regardless of the time of year or time of day. Hydration is vital no matter when or where you are running. But, when we add severe temperatures into the mix, it becomes even more important. Drink plenty of water before, during (if possible), and after your run.

RUN INDOORS. If you absolutely refuse to run early or late, then try taking it indoors. Trust me, I hate running on an indoor track as much as the next guy. Let’s be honest, they flat out suck. But, 70 degrees in the air conditioning is quite appealing when it feels like the surface of the sun outside.

RUN SLOWER. If you insist on running outside, start off at a slower speed. There is nothing more detrimental when running in the heat than going out too fast. This will get your heart rate and body temperature elevated faster than you think. While this is certainly not uncommon, it is something you want to try and avoid as much as you can.

RUN SHORTER. Allow yourself time to get acclimatized to the warmer weather. Instead of running 5 miles at high noon, opt for a 5k instead. Let your body, and mind, get used to the drastic change in temperature.

SWAP YOUR HEADGEAR. During the winter months, I always wear a hat or beanie. This keeps all the warmth from my big ole’ head close to my body. In the summertime, you want to do just the opposite. Swap the hat out for a lightweight visor. It’s a good way to let off some extra body heat while still keeping the sun out of your eyes.

There you have it folks. Next to sitting next to the air conditioner, these tips are your best bet for staying cool in the summer months. Do you have any ideas that have helped you while running outside? If so, leave them below in the comment section.

Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.