One of the best parts of freedom is the fact that we have the right to make our own choices and you need to be making the right choices to keep your feet healthy. Summer is a great season for runners, but if you want to keep your feet at their fastest you need to take care of yourself. Here are some quick tips for running in the summer months:
- Drink water! Lots of it!
Dehydration is a huge problem when it comes to your feet. There are 250,000 sweat glands in your feet and if you’re running outside in hot weather, you better believe that your feet are going to be pouring buckets into your shoes. Make sure you hydrate before, during, and after a run, even if you aren’t thirsty. Also, make sure you rinse and dry your feet to avoid problems associated with extra sweatiness (like athletes foot).
- Breathable shoes and socks
Remember those sweat glands we just talked about? Well one way to keep your feet cool and dry is to wear the proper socks and shoes. Sweat wicking socks made of nylon, polyester, and wool will pull moisture away from the skin. 100% cotton socks only absorb the moisture, but trap it against your skin, leaving your feet open to odor, bacteria, or infection. Get the right socks and your feet will thank you.
While you don’t have to worry about your feet getting sun burned inside your shoes, the rest of your body is subject to burn. Not only does sunscreen protect you from harmful UV rays, but it can also help prevent runners’ tan (that thing where your feet are white below your sock line). Don’t forget to lather it on even for that early morning or late evening run. Unless the sun is below the horizon, you’re absorbing those rays and you need to protect yourself.
Running on varied surfaces can help protect your feet. Concrete and asphalt are very tough and put enormous amounts of pressure on your joints and bones. Running on dirt or grass is softer and thus gives you a more complete workout, but it takes a lot of concentration when you run on these surfaces to avoid trips, twists, and other ankle injuries. Overall, it’s best to work on a mixture of these surfaces. If you prefer road running, change one run a week to a trail instead. Soft surfaces absorb the shock of our bodyweight and stop it from being transferred up your feet and legs.
Why anyone would want to go running in the heat is beyond my reckoning, but if you just have to get out for your morning jog, make sure you follow through on thinking about your feet first.