You've been hibernating like a bear during the winter months waiting for the sun to break out through the clouds and stay there for a more than a few minutes. The layers are off and that thirst for running is back.
Running during those wintry months can be tough but the same can similarly be said when it starts getting toasty outside. There are plenty of good reasons to grab your running shoes and head out into the sunshine. For starters, you don't have to hammer the treadmill while the news plays on loop on the TV. On a more serious note, it can improve running performance and help your body acclimatise to different conditions.
Read this: Tips and tricks for running in winter
There are things you need to think about before you make the dash out for the nearest park. Like the fact that you'e going to get dehydrated much quicker, more likely to suffer from cramp or heat exhaustion. So with that in mind and with your fitness trackers, smartwatches and running watches in tow, here are our top tips to run in the heat with your wearable tech.
1. Keep an eye on the sun
One of the biggest worries of running in hot weather is the potential damage it can do to your skin and the obvious dangers of staying out in the sun for prolonged periods. You are exposed to UVA and UVB rays, two of the most dangerous ultraviolet rays.
A good idea is to grab some loose fitting technical running kit and slap on some sunscreen before you head out. There's also a host of wearable UV detecting devices out there including the Netatmo June, the L'Oréal My UV Patch, and the Honor Band A1 fitness tracker.
A sleek solution for the future could come in the shape of the Helios Smart Ring that tracks exposure to sunlight and daylight as well as the current UV index. Dutch startup e-Senses is still in the development stages but is hoping to start shipping some time in 2017.
The Microsoft Band 2 looks set to be the company's last version of the fitness tracker/smartwatch hybrid, which is a bit of a shame as it does pack a UV sensor. If you do have one or still considering buying one, on the device you'll need to swipe to the UV tile, raise your wrist towards the sun and it'll display a reading (Extreme, Very High, High, Medium, Low, or None). There's a good breakdown of what those readings all mean over on the Microsoft Band 2 support page.
2. Grab a water bottle
Okay, so this is not technically a wearable tip, but it's pretty essential when it's a scorcher. This is really an obvious one. You might not want the hassle or the extra weight of carrying a bottle, but the reality is that you are going to get hot, sweaty and extremely dehydrated, and that's a bad thing. You need to keep those fluids topped up.
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There's been an increase in smart bottles that can help monitor hydration, but the $49 Trago does things a little bit differently. The smart bottle cap should fit most wide mouth water bottles including Camelbaks and uses ultrasonic technology to measure changes in water levels. Compatible with Fitbit and the Apple Watch, it will also take into account body type, weather and activity to stay hydrated. Data is synced wirelessly to a smartphone and it comes with a decent six month's of battery life.
3. Put your heart rate monitor to use
When you train in hot weather, your heart rate will increase significantly simply because the body has to work harder to keep your body cool. Seeing that heart rate hit high numbers can cause core body temperature to rise and cause the body to overheat and get dehydrated.
Read this: Heart rate training zones explained
To increase your chances of staying in a more comfortable running zone, using a heart rate monitor can be useful to give you a clear indication of when you're out of that comfort zone by helping to assess the intensity of the session. We know not all wrist based heart rate monitors are fantastic but the optical sensors on the TomTom Spark 3 and the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HRdo a pretty good job. If in doubt, try a heart rate monitor chest strap like the Polar H10 or Gamin HRM Tri to ensure more reliable readings.
Map out training routes
You don't want to be running out longer than you need to. Especially if you've taken enough water and packed in enough energy gels to that running bag only to last you a specific distance. There are a few running watches that will let you plot your routes, giving you a clear indication of distance, duration and identifying the kind of terrain you're going to face. We're sure the majority of you don't want to be climbing hills in the searing heat.
The TomTom Adventurer the Spark 3 and Garmin watches like the Fenix 5X and Epix offer mapping so you can see routes on your watch display. You can also tap into a host of running apps like Strava or MapMyRun where you can create courses or see other routes set up by fellow users to make sure you don't run out of steam and do make it home in time to get properly hydrated.
5. Monitor core body temperature
When you get out in the heat, it's going to have a big impact on your core body temperature. Why is that a big deal? Well, because as the core body temperature rises, the ability to run at your usual pace becomes more difficult. Your body sweats more, you lose water and essentially become more dehydrated. So it's quite useful to be able to keep an eye on this to keep hydrated and not become overworked.
There's not a whole host of wearables that can do it, but one that does stand out is Cosinuss. It's a set of in-ear sports headphones that uses a thermoresistance element to deliver the data from your ear and send it wirelessly to your smartphone. It also packs in a heart rate monitor that's able to measure heart rate variability to indicate how much strain you've put on your body. There's even a Cosinuss Garmin Connect app so you can review data on compatible watches including the Forerunner 630, Forerunner 235 and Fenix 5.
If you don't fancy a wearable, you can always try an ingestible like we did with the BodyCap e-Celsius smart pills. You can store data on the pills while ingested but you'll have to wait until you get back to the monitor to review performance as it currently doesn't work with smartphones or smartwatches.