10 Tips for Running in the HeatMay 05, 2023
So, British Summertime is upon us, and we hope with that comes some warm, sunny days. But for running, these days can also be incredibly challenging and often we don’t want to run in the heat so we put a halt on our running journey for a little while.
What if there were ways to handle the heat, or avoid it altogether? Check out our 10 tips for managing your running when the temperature is rising!
- Get out early doors!
It may seem obvious, but getting out at 6 am, just as the sun is rising is a glorious time to run and the heat is minimal (in the UK anyway!). Getting up early may seem like a slog, but it is definitely worth it once you are over the initial shock of rising a few hours earlier! You may never set your alarm back to 7.00 am again! Want some help to get up in the morning? Check out How to Run in the Morning.
Going out later in the evening works as well, just don’t leave it so late that you either don’t bother or you’re going to have trouble sleeping.
- Be aware of what you wear
Black heavy clothes are not going to help out in the heat. Go for lightweight clothing that is light in colour. Go for microfibre polyesters and cotton blends that wick away sweat. Hats with an SPF in the fabric are a great idea and/or shades along with sunscreen of at least SPF30.
Wear as little as possible – now is not the time to be self-conscious. Go out and own that run!
- Give yourself time
If you are expecting a period of hot weather, then give yourself time to get used to training in higher temperatures. Increase the intensity and length of your runs so that your body learns to decrease your heart rate, decrease your body temperature and also increase your sweat rate.
- Avoid things that dehydrate you
Alcohol, antihistamines, and antidepressants can all dehydrate the body. Avoid taking them just before your run as they can have a tendency of making you want to urinate which only adds to the dehydration.
- Add in a sports drink
While water is usually best, adding a sports drink will ensure you are adding much-needed electrolytes which will increase your water absorption rate. They also help to replace the electrolytes you lose through sweat. Make sure you drink enough by taking in 16 oz before you head out and 5-8 oz around every 20 minutes while you are out.
- Windy weather watch
If there is a slight breeze, use that to your advantage. Try and start your run with the wind behind you so that you have it against you on your return. It will help cool you down on the second half of your run which will be most welcome.
- Go for grass and shade
If you want to minimize exposure to heat, try to run in grassy, shady areas. Roads retain heat so if you can avoid them, all the better. Look for a local park with plenty of tree cover.
- Change your pace
If you were going out for a fast pace run, change it and slow down. The heat will naturally slow you down so just go with it! Expect your speed to decrease by 20-30 seconds per mile for every 5 degrees above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s certainly ok to run at a slower pace when you’re running in the heat.
- Take it poolside
Ever thought about running in water? Why not replace one of your weekly sessions with some aqua running? It’s a lot harder than you think and will certainly keep you cool.
- Look out for signs and symptoms
Headache, dizziness, abdominal and large muscle cramps, nausea, clammy skin, and profuse sweating are all signs that you are suffering in the heat.
Quick-fire keep cool strategies
- Drink a sports drink over water
- Avoid alcohol and meds just before
- Wear little clothing – keep it light in colour
- Wear sunscreen of 30 SPF and over
- Minimise your warm-up so you don’t start off too hot
- Run in the shade, in a park, early in the morning (do 1, 2 or all 3 for maximum benefit!)
- Have the breeze behind you to start
- Take it slower – you can always speed up
- Water running – go hit the pool!
- Keep an eye on key symptoms
- Wear an ice vest (find them on Amazon)
- Drink an ice slushy to finish – but not too quick to avoid ‘the head freeze’!
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