The air is hotter, and people are moving to the outdoors to enjoy the sunshine! This is a perfect time of year to establish a running routine and to improve your physical condition. A good way to motivate yourself is to choose a race — a 3K, a 5K, a 10K, a half-marathon, or a full marathon — and then train for it. You can choose to  train alone or with a partner and at least check in on a group fitness app or social media app to inform your friends and family of your progress. We want you to be happy and safe and feel that running is your go-to way to reduce stress and generate endorphins, which will elevate your mood and make your body feel wonderful! Here are five helpful tips for runners this season:

How to Maximize Your Summer Runs

Wear good footwear

We spend a lot of time on our feet each day. When you choose to run, your feet will sustain more wear-and-tear as they pound the pavement, the grass, the sand, or the trail. Each surface causes stress on the joints and can physically affect your skin, creating cracks, blisters, calluses, dry skin, or other problems. Caring for your feet starts with fitting yourself with the right running shoes. You may need to consult an orthotist and get custom-fitted inserts for your running shoes. You may need different shoes for running on pavement, training on the treadmill, and jogging on uneven surfaces. Many sports retailers can put you in contact with a shoe expert.

Practice training, increasing the number of miles that you run over time

Just as bicyclists use an app like Under Armour’s MapMyRide, runners use their smartphones to track their progress. Some free apps include the iPhone Health app, Runkeeper, Map My Run, Runtastic, Pumatrac, and Nike+ Running. With an app, it’s easy to map jogging routes and to record your distance daily. If you wear a fitness device such as a Fitbit, you can monitor your heart rate and other vital stats. If you have a physical limitation such as asthma, be sure to carry your inhaler so you aren’t far from home as you increase the demands on your body.

Cross-train with resistance and weight training at the gym

Jogging is great for increasing your heart rate, using many muscle groups, and building cardiovascular capacity. Cross-training provides extra conditioning to your body. Most gyms employ a physical trainer who is qualified to suggest the best exercises and summer sports for cross-training. A trainer reviews your medical background, health limitations, and fitness habits before recommending a custom workout. Anyone with the capacity to run can use this hobby to attain his or her daily goals for calorie burning. Use running for weight loss or to be stronger and more agile for each race.

Get lots of rest

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average U.S. adult aged 18 to 64 needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, if you maintain a high level of physical activity, you might need more rest. It depends on whether your current sleep pattern leaves you feeling tired throughout the day, which means more rest is indicated, or alert and energetic. Listen to your body’s signals for going to sleep and for spending enough hours in bed. Quality sleep also counts. Make your room ready for sleep and eliminate distractions. Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones may sustain damage while running, but they will repair themselves while you snooze. Physical therapy may be needed to address certain aches and pains.

Stay hydrated and ensure that your body is balanced with enough electrolytes

Some runners carry a water bottle with them, and others plan their route to coincide with water fountains or merchants like Starbucks where ice water is free. You can also choose from many sports drinks that provide essential electrolytes, but beware of products with a high sugar or corn syrup content.

If you have a lingering injury that flares up this summer while you pursue your running goals, especially greater leg weakness or leg pain, please call Cawley Physical Therapy at 570-208-2787 or email cawleyptfrank@gmail.com.

If you like more tips for runners or answers to your aches and pains right now, simply click here and discover how we can assist you for free!