Now that the trees are green, the temperatures are rising, and everyone is riding high on Vitamin D, we’ve put together some top tips for parkrunning in the warmer weather…
1. Walk or cycle to parkrun
You’ve had all winter de-icing the windscreen and peering out in between the wipers on a wet Saturday morning, so it’s time to make the most of the summer sunshine, longer days and brighter mornings.
Rather than hanging out of the window of a hot, stuffy car, if you live close enough and have enough time, why not walk or cycle to parkrun?
You don’t have to worry about parking, and you can use it as a way to warm up so you’re ready to go!
2. Dress appropriately
When temperatures begin to soar, you need to ensure you don’t overheat whilst walking, jogging and running.
The best way to do that is to try and make sure you are wearing light, sweat-wicking clothing. Wicking helps to draw moisture and sweat away from the body, helping you to regulate your temperature more effectively.
You should apply suncream, and as well as that, caps are a really effective way to keep your head cool, and sunglasses can help reduce your exposure to UV rays. Plus you’ll look pretty cool too!
You can find a range of t-shirts and running kit from our friends at CONTRA. Clothing comes in 10 different sizes, with every single penny of profit coming back to parkrun.
We might be biased, but we think volunteering at parkrun might just be the best thing ever! More than 25,000 hi-vis heroes can be found in parks and open spaces around the world every week in all weathers.
If you’re someone who has always wanted to volunteer, but struggles in the cold, summer is a great time to try your hand at timing, barcode scanning, marshalling or any one of the numerous other roles on offer with the sun on your back.
No previous experience is needed, so simply put on your hi-vis, and prepare yourself for the post-volunteering glow. Thank you Marshal!
4. Bring a drink or water bottle
In order to optimise our health it is important we maintain appropriate hydration, ideally through consumption of drinks free from sugar or artificial sweeteners.
We also believe that water, as well as being one of the healthiest drinks we can consume, is a cost-effective and efficient way to quench our thirst and remain hydrated.
parkrunning in the summer can certainly be thirsty work, and so what better way to stay hydrated than by bringing a bottle of nature’s finest beverage with you on a Saturday morning!
And even when you’re not at parkrun, carrying your water with you can save on money and reduce your temptation to choose less-healthy options.
5. parkrun pooches
parkrun is the biggest physical activity movement in the world, with over 300,000 weekly finishers in 21 countries, and it’s just as popular amongst four-legged barkrunners (on a short lead)!
However, unlike us, dogs can only regulate their body temperature through panting and sometimes this is not enough to stop them from getting overheated. All dogs are at risk of heat stroke and so the RSPCA in the UK has produced this helpful advice on dog first aid and identifying the signs of heatstroke.
On those warm summer mornings, it’s best to be safe and leave the parkrun pooches at home, because ultimately it is only parkrun and their welfare and safety is far more important.
6. Sensible pacing
You look forward to parkrun all week, and come Saturday morning you’re excited and motivated to beat your friends, run a PB, and storm around the course in a blaze of glory…
But, in hotter weather, reassess your goals and pace sensibly, easing your way into your 5k so you don’t overheat, rather than sprinting off like Usain Bolt in the Olympic final, and if you do feel yourself feeling too hot, you should slow down, walk, or stop.
That might be disappointing for your grand ambitions of breaking 40 minutes, going sub-30, or dipping under the magical 20 barrier. The beauty of parkrun is, there’s always next week.
7. Explore nature
Shall we be honest with each other? During those dark winter months, parkrunning in -5C around a boggy field, with no feeling in your hands and feet, and teeth chattering, we’ve all had those moments where we’ve thought: “What on earth am I doing?”
But in summer you get to cash in all of those muddy shuffles and explore the best nature has to offer, from forests to waterfront paths and eye-catching flowers and gardens.
It’s time to stop and smell the roses and prepare to be in awe of everything our beautiful planet has to offer, all whilst enjoying your free, weekly, timed 5k. Magic!
8. Cooling off post-parkrun
After parkrun, whilst you’re telling everyone about your new PB (*wink wink*), make sure you cool off and sit in the shade once you’ve grabbed yourself a cold drink from the cafe.
Now we don’t know how to put this, but here goes… you might also be a little bit parkrun fresh!
They say that sweat is simply liquid awesomeness, but the person next to you on the train home might not totally agree, so having a spare top to change into and some deodorant also might not be a bad idea!
9. Make the most of it!
Finally, and most importantly, forget about times and paces and enjoy the puddle-free courses, the singing of the birds, the stunning greenery and bright blue skies… because it won’t last long!
There’s been no stopping Sarah Wiwarena since she first got her parkrun barcode. Sarah, who is in her seventies, recently joined the 50 club and is always trying to get others to come and participate in parkrun. My friend Alan Ryan, and my brother-in-law Robert Corbett, who coincidentally achieved his 50th parkrun the week after me,…
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