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Jun 14, 2023

Fun Runs In The Summertime

After many years of running, I’ve come to embrace summer as my favorite season to run.

Yes, it’s ridiculously hot and uncomfortable for much of June, July, and August. The threat of dehydration and overheating is real. Still, there’s something glorious about being able to run at sunrise or during a 9 p.m. sunset – more daylight during the summer gives me more time to get my miles in each day.

Summer also brings people together for outdoor fun, and it’s no different when it comes to running. I can fill up my running social calendar every day with summer events. Monday might be a pub run, Tuesday’s run ends with tacos and Wednesdays are for running in the park when musicians show up to entertain the crowd. Thursdays have running and outdoor yoga, weekends bring the 5Ks with the outdoor party afterward… you get the idea.

It’s no wonder my smart watch and Strava consistently show year after year that June is my highest month for mileage. Most times I’m not even training for a race in June – I’m just outside! All that summertime running also pays off in the fall when half-marathon and marathon season rolls around in October and November.

Ready to put some fun into your running this summer? Here are some ideas to turn your summer runs into can’t-miss hot weather events.

Hit the holiday 5Ks: I was thrilled to see new races on our local running calendar to celebrate Juneteenth, and Fourth of July races have long been a summer tradition. Summer is the season for cultural festivals as well, and many come with a fun run to get people moving. I’ve got a few on my list!

Dash and dine: Local running groups like Black Girls Run and running stores often offer opportunities for runners to mix and mingle during summer evenings. Show up for the 6 or 7 p.m. run and then eat or drink outside at a nearby restaurant. It’s a great chance to meet new friends or hang with your current running buddies while visiting new neighborhoods and enjoying some great food.

Run at night: Because the temperatures are so nice in the evenings, there are more nighttime race options during the summer than at any other time of the year. You can find “glow” runs with neon light sticks and tunnels, trail runs under the stars, and even races with a DJ and a party at the end. Nighttime races are unique experiences that deliver fun while offering the safety of running with a large, organized group.

Road trip: You can travel to races all year round, but it might be easier to do so as part of your summer vacation. Try out a half-marathon in another big city or a themed run in a different state. Then after the race, explore all that place has to offer!

I think I’ve done all of the above at least once as part of my summer running schedule. This July, I’m hitting the road again – this time traveling to Louisville, Kentucky, for Sweat Your Sole On the Road, and to help Black Girls Run welcome its new Louisville chapter!

It’s going to be a great summer, and I can’t wait for more running adventures in 2023.

By Shannon Shelton Miller /Twitter: ShannonSMWrites, Instagram: shannon.shelton1

Shannon Shelton Miller is a longtime writer and journalist who enjoys writing about sports, fitness, health, beauty, and parenting. She has been running for 27 years, starting from joining her high school cross-country team. She has run a marathon, two half marathons, and countless 5K and 10K races.