What to look for in women’s summer running kit

All you need to know about summer gear for women.

Running with the sun on your back is always a joy after months of winter rain, wind, ice and snow. But it’s easy to forget that the sun can cause all sorts of problems for enthusiastic and long distance runners. From sunburn to sunstroke, insect bites to dehydration, you need to make sure you have all the right equipment to enjoy those rays and stay safe.  

Sun block

This is your best friend when the mercury rises. Use a high protective factor and one that is also sweat proof. Make sure you apply it everywhere, including UV protective lip salve, and try to avoid running for prolonged distances in the heat of the day. In a perfect world, you should aim to train early in the morning or later in the afternoon when it’s cooler. And if your sun block also features an insect repellent, then even better.

Shorts

Ventilation is the key here, so go for some shorts that are ultra light and breathable. Comfort and practicality are what you need and something that allows maximum freedom of movement is ideal.

Skorts

When a skirt meets a pair of shorts it’s a skort and they are perfect for the summer. They look like a skirt, with a pair of shorts underneath that are comfortable and wick away sweat, as well as sparing any blushes from a mischievous waft of wind. They look great and are super cool for a run in soaring temperatures.

Sunglasses

It is absolutely vital to protect your eyes from the glare and heat of the sun. Make sure you opt for a pair that offers 100% UV protection. Some manufacturers also offer different lenses for certain levels of sunlight, so you can adapt your sunglasses to suit the prevailing light conditions.

Running tank top

The higher temperatures generally mean a long-sleeved top is out of the question. Even a short-sleeved running top can feel too hot so a lot of runners opt for a tank top that incorporates a built-in, breathable sports bra. Many brands also feature a ventilation system and include a mesh panel at the back for breathability and support. As with all of your summer running kit, it is advisable to choose a light colour, as anything dark will absorb the heat.

UV protected sports bra

If you do prefer to exercise in a running tee, you might want to go for a sports bra which has a built in UV protective factor of 50 and is made of ultra lightweight, breathable material. Their cooling fabric keeps the skin cooler no matter how high the air temperature and also features ventilation panels between the breasts.

Lightweight drinks belt

Hydration is critical in the heat. You lose so much more sweat than normal, so you need to keep topping up the bodily tank. A lightweight belt with various storage compartments will work and make sure you pack an electrolyte sports drink if you’re planning on running very long distances.

Ultra light socks

Your feet will sweat buckets during the summer as they react to the intensity of the heat generated by your workout and the air temperature. As a result you need ultra light socks that absorb the moisture but also prevent your feet and toes from rubbing against the inside of the shoe. Some socks are now so clever they include two separate layers that allow a space for the moisture to permeate through, whilst also allowing the fabrics to rub against each other, rather than causing any kind of friction between your shoe and your foot. This means no blisters, which is perfect.

Sun visor

Some runners prefer not to wear a hat because it makes their heads too hot. A visor is a great compromise as it protects the face from the sun and stops the sweat from your head running into your eyes. Many brands incorporate a UV protection factor of anything from 30-50.

Cooling towel

In really hot conditions you might want to think about a cooling towel, to use either straight after your workout, or a UV protective brand that you can drape around your shoulders and take on your run. The towel is activated once it’s soaked in water, which it retains and cools simultaneously. All you need to do when you want to use it is wring it out and shake it or snap it and hey presto, you are ready to hit the road. 

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