Running Through the Heat

Depending on where in the world you live, the hot weather might be on it’s way or maybe you’ve even had a few warm days already.  Living on the east coast of the US, we’ve had a couple warmer days, but I know that just around the corner are the really hot days.  Add in the humidity that we get here and it can make for very unpleasant running conditions.  And this year, my area of the world has the added bonus of cicadas – look it up if you are unfamiliar with them!

Running in the heat can present several issues, particularly if you aren’t ready for it or haven’t experienced it in the past.  Each year, it always takes me several runs in warmer temperatures to get used to it again. 

Here are some tips to help you run through the warmer months of the year.  Some of these might seem like common sense, but they can really have a huge impact on your running.

1//Run Early or Late. If possible, avoid the hottest parts of the day by running in the early morning or later in the evening.  Doing this will make everything more comfortable on your run. 

Running in the morning is my preference because even though it might be humid, the temperature is still not very high.  And there’s just something about starting off the day with a run. Whatever you do though, try to avoid running from early to mid-afternoon on the extremely hot days! 

2//Plan Your Route. This is particularly important if you are planning to run a longer distance.  Adjust your route to run loops around or near your house or car to get drinks, change clothes, etc.   You can also break up your run into multiple shorter runs to avoid overheating or dehydration.

Another way that you can plan your route is by running on a shady trail or path to avoid being out in the direct sunlight the whole time.

3//Hydrate!  Bring a bottle of water with you, wear a hydration belt or stop by your house or car to make sure that you are staying hydrated throughout your run.  Staying hydrated during your run will also help you to recover better from your efforts.  The amount of water or sports drink that you should drink during a run depends on a variety of factors including how hot it is during your run and the length or intensity of it. 

Keeping yourself properly hydrated during a run helps overall performance aside from just making you feel better!

4//Dress Appropriately. Wear lightweight clothing.  While I would recommend this throughout the year (just more layers when it’s cold), this is especially important when the temperature starts to rise.  Lightweight, breathable clothing helps to prevent your body from overheating.  Every running brand sells this kind of clothing now.  Find some gear you’re comfortable in and give it a shot!

5//Wear Sunscreen.  The sunscreen will help prevent sunburn which can be really uncomfortable to run with on subsequent days.  Never mind the fact that you should be wearing sunscreen if you are outside for extended periods anyway! Just be sure to keep it out of your eyes!

6//Wear Hat or Visor. Keeping the sun and sweat out of your eyes just helps to make your run more comfortable and fun.  Just as with the clothing, I would definitely recommend a lightweight hat or visor also that allows some air in and doesn’t soak up all the sweat!

7//Take a Break.  There’s nothing wrong with slowing it down for portions of your run. You can alternate running and walking for some of your run.  Or walk for a few minutes if you need to.  Or even sit on a park bench and take a break until you’re ready to go again.

8//Keep your Mouth Closed! This one is for no other reason than to avoid bugs flying into your mouth! Instead, if you’re like me, there will just be a few on my neck and face at the end of the run!

Even having experienced heat and humidity every summer of my life and running in it for many of those years, I still learn new tricks all the time that help me perform better on my runs. Just remember that safety is most important when you are running and to take the necessary steps to allow you to run safely in the heat.

Please remember to share any tips that you might have in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Running Through the Heat

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