Running in warmer temperatures is not easy. Here are some helpful tips for making running through the heat a bit easier.
5 Tips To Run Through The Heat
I have mentioned many times that I am a bit of a running weather snob. I love perfect running weather that doesn’t quite require a jacket but also doesn’t require me to run half naked either! Alas, I do not live in a perfect weather all the time city like say, San Diego, so I had to learn how to run in all kinds of weather including the very hot NYC summers.
During the past few years, I’ve been training for the NYC marathon so that inevitably means lots of miles during the summer. It was not always fun, but I figured out a few tricks that have helped tremendously.
- Run Early: If you can try to run before 8 am. The temperature is the coolest in the morning and if you can run (in a safe area!) before the sun comes up, that is a huge win!
- Hydrate properly: I gave a ton of tips in my runner hydration post last month, and it is important to hydrate well all year round, but especially when it’s hot because you are sweating way more profusely.
- Take it easy: It is important to run and train hard but when the temps go over say 80 degrees, it’s important to slow down and not push too hard. Getting the miles on your feet is the most critical part of training.
- Run in the shade (on purpose): Map out your training run to include a lot of trees and/or shade. Running in the open sun is a lot tougher when it’s hot versus running in the shade.
- Run by the water: When it gets exceptionally hot around these parts, I usually take myself to the edge of Brooklyn to run across the Brooklyn Bridge or in Brooklyn Bridge Park where there is lots of water and the temp is noticeably cooler.
Understanding the Risks and Preparing for Heat
Running in the heat can be more than just uncomfortable—it can also be dangerous if not done carefully. High temperatures and humidity can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, or even heatstroke if you’re not careful. In order to run safely in the heat, it’s essential to take certain precautions.
Firstly, understanding the body’s thermoregulation process can help you appreciate the risks involved. As you run, your body heats up and sweats to cool down. However, when the ambient temperature is also high, the body has to work extra hard to maintain a safe internal temperature. Humidity can further complicate matters by making it difficult for sweat to evaporate, thereby limiting the body’s ability to cool down.
Choose the Right Time and Location
The timing of your run can make a significant difference in how you handle the heat. Running in the early morning or late evening when the sun is less intense is usually the best option. If you must run during the day, try to pick shaded routes or areas with water fountains. Some people even choose to run indoors on a treadmill to escape the heat entirely.
Wear Appropriate Gear
Lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking fabrics can help your body regulate temperature better than cotton or heavier materials. Bright colors that reflect sunlight are preferable to dark ones that absorb it. A running hat and sunglasses are also advisable to protect against sunburn and glare. Don’t forget to apply sweat-resistant sunscreen on all exposed skin areas.
Hydration is Key
The importance of staying hydrated while running in the heat can’t be overstated. Start by hydrating well before you even step out the door. While running, aim to drink about 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes, adjusting based on your thirst and the conditions. For runs longer than an hour, consider a sports drink that can replace lost electrolytes. Carry a water bottle or plan a route where you can refill one. Post-run, rehydrate with more water or an electrolyte-replenishing drink.
Listen to Your Body
Your body will generally give you signals if it’s struggling to cope with the heat. Muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, and extreme fatigue are all signs that you should stop immediately, seek shade, and hydrate. Never push through these symptoms.
Adjust Your Training Plan
When temperatures soar, it’s smart to adapt your training. Reduce your pace and distance and don’t worry too much about hitting specific times. Your body is already working harder than usual just to cope with the heat, so give it a break. If you’re training for a race, consider doing your longer runs on a cooler day or splitting them into smaller segments throughout the day.
Use Cooling Techniques
There are various techniques you can use to stay cool while running. Splashing water on your face and neck, or placing a wet bandana around your neck can offer temporary relief. Some runners even swear by freezing a water bottle and carrying it with them, taking sips as it melts. You can also use cooling sports gels or sprays, which provide a momentary sensation of coolness on the skin.
Consult a Healthcare Provider if Necessary
If you have a medical condition or take medication that might affect your body’s ability to handle heat, consult with a healthcare provider before running in high temperatures. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and certain medications can significantly affect how your body copes with exercise in the heat.
Running in the heat isn’t something to be taken lightly, but with the right precautions, you can still get your miles in safely. Just remember that it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to heat and exercise.
This month I am teaming up with my favorite runner bloggers to share our best tips for running in the heat, so make sure you check them out because they are awesome!
How do you beat the summer heat when working out?
Hi! I’m Nellie. I am a busy mama of three, wife to my high school sweetheart who loves to cook, workout and stay organized! I love to share helpful printables, the best recipes and fitness tips for the modern mom. I strongly believe that every mom can feed their family well, take proper care of themselves and have fun along the way! Read my story.
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