Running in the heat

By 24th July 2018News

Warm weather is an unavoidable truth for runners. Unless you live in Antarctica. Then say hi to the penguins for me.

Many runners wonder how to run in the heat safely.

So here are the best warm weather running tips so you stay safe.

1.) Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

Pre-hydrating, during-run hydrating, and post-run hydrating are incredibly important when running in warm weather. Replenish water and electrolytes with plain water and a sports drink.

Options for staying hydrated during a run:

  • Do loops back to a cooler place (or your house) so you have access to water every 20-30 minutes
  • Run with a water bottle in your hand – they have running water bottles with handles that make it easy to run with a water bottle. Make sure to add ice cubes before you go (since your hand will warm the water up along the way).
  • Wear a hydration belt during your run – Hydration belts let you bring more water than a hand-held water bottle

2.) The Right Running Gear for Warm Weather

Do not run in sweatpants, sweatshirts, or anything heavy or dark in colour.
Your body needs to be able to regulate it’s temperature and wick sweat away from your body. That’s why performance running clothing is necessary.
What is performance material? It’s a (non-cotton) blend that wicks sweat away and sometimes also has a cooling affect on your body too.

4 Necessary Items for Running in the Heat:

  • Performance shirt – wear light-coloured clothing (not black or blue or anything dark because dark colours absorb light more)
  • Shorts (or capris, if you are uncomfortable in shorts)
  • Performance socks – sweat (from the heat, humidity, and exertion) can cause blisters. Performance socks help prevent it.
  • Hat – Keep the sun off your head and face with a hat (a baseball cap). Bonus if it has mesh on the sides to allow heat to escape.

3.) Sunscreen

Don’t forget to apply a sports sunscreen liberally before running.
A.) Sunburn is bad for you (in general)
B.) Sunburn is especially bad for runners, because clothing will inevitably rub against it while running and make you miserable.

4.) Running Sunglasses

Don’t make the mistake of running in the intense sunshine without sunglasses. Protect your eyes if you want to learn how to run in the heat, you won’t be disappointed (and your eyes will thank you later).

5.) Time of Day Matters: Choose Sunrise or Sunset Runs

Run before the sun rises (or right after) and as the sun sets (or after). It’s cooler then.

Stay away from high-noon rays while running. The sun’s intensity increases heat and danger.

Personally, we love sunrise runs in the summer.

6.) Choose Your Running Route Strategically

Select routes with shade. Stay out of the direct sunlight as much as possible.

Maybe that means a trail run (to take advantage of the tree shade). Or pavements along a path with trees.

Either way, do your best to avoid direct sunlight when learning how to run in the heat because shade offers a few degrees of relief (if not more).

7.) Pacing – Don’t Worry About Going Fast

Running in warm weathers takes a toll on your body – you exert more energy running in the heat.

Because of this, don’t worry about speed. You probably won’t be winning any races in the heat (unless you’re specifically training to do so).

It’s safer to rely on how your body feels. Ignore your fitness app for heat runs. Go by feel.

Note: pushing it to hard in heat can have dangerous effects. Use extreme caution when running fast in the heat. 

8.) Listen to Your Body

This is the most important piece of advice here.

Feeling thirsty? Listen to your body and drink water (or a sports drink).

Feeling tired? You should probably slow it down, or stop running completely.

Feeling disoriented? Stop running immediately and seek medical help. Running in heat can cause heatstroke (more on that later) which is a serious medical condition.

Overall, running in the heat is not the time to push your body beyond it’s limits.

Take it easy. Remember how hard your body works in the heat already.

Shoot for distance and ignore pace (meaning don’t worry how “slow” you go on hot days), but remember that ultimately, you must listen to your body and react based on that. Sometimes that means cutting a run short, and that’s totally OK.

9.) How to Run in the Heat Essential Tip: If It’s TOO Hot, Just Treadmill-it

Sometimes the temperature and/or humidity level is too much for a run. It’s just not safe.

Recognising that is important.

Treadmills aren’t always fun but are sometimes necessary. Now may be that time.

Remember – it’s better to run on a treadmill and be healthy, than run outside in extreme heat and get heatstroke.

Get bored on the treadmill? Switch it up with an interval or “fartlek” run. Alternate speeds and incline for certain periods of time (1-5 minutes) to break the monotony.

10.) A Note of Caution: Be Careful to Avoid Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when your body can’t properly regulate its temperature.

It can be caused by exercising in heat.

Some signs of heat stroke include (but are not limited to):

  • Throbbing or intense headache
  • Disorientation or “fuzzy” head
  • Feeling sick to your stomach or vomiting
  • Flushed skin caused by increased body temperature

If you think you, or someone else, has heatstroke, seek immediate medical attention.

Also, cool yourself (or the other person) any way possible. Some options include:

  • Using ice to cool the body
  • Poor water over their head/neck
  • Getting into a cold tub or pool (obviously use caution or disregard this option if you’re disoriented)

Running in the heat can be manageable but be very cautious while doing so, to ensure your safety. No exercise is so important that is should result in a visit to hospital.

With that said, we hope you enjoyed these and have learned how to run in the heat to continue your running journey throughout the hot summer months to Ealing Half Marathon!

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