Tips for Running in Hot Weather
I’m a Florida girl, so I run in the heat pretty much year-round. But even for those of us who are accustomed to exercising in warmer temperatures, running in the summer heat requires some additional measures.
Here are some tips for running in hot weather:
1. Pick the right time of day. Ideally, you should run early in the morning, before the sun rises. If you can’t run early, run as late in the evening as possible. And remember that whenever you run in the dark, you should always follow basic safety principles, like running with a friend, carrying or wearing a light, and wearing light colored and reflective clothing. Check out the Brooks Nightlife line and the reflective running gear by Nathan.
2. Run in the shade. If you must run while the sun is up, try to map a course with as much shade as possible. Do this ahead of time so you don’t wind up stuck in the blazing sun with no place to find relief.
3. Run indoors. I may be in the minority here, but I enjoy running on a treadmill just as much as running outdoors. I mean, what could be so terrible about running in the air conditioning? Plus, I’m a busy mom and it’s just plain tough to find time alone time to run in the early mornings or late evenings. So when outdoor running isn’t possible, I head to the gym, drop the kids off in the childcare center, and enjoy a nice, cool run. Also, the treadmill is the best place to do speed work during the hot summer months.
4. Dress for the weather. Last winter, I discussed the importance of dressing appropriately when running in cold weather. It’s just as important to wear the right clothing for running in the heat. In the summer, wear light colored, loose fitting clothes. Do not wear cotton because it absorbs moisture. Instead, wear synthetic, moisture wicking clothing. Check out Under Armour’s HeatGear line for some great options. And don’t forget to sunglasses that are polarized and protect against UVA/UBV rays.
5. Don’t wear a hat. You lose most of your body heat through the top of your head, so covering your head will cause a quicker internal buildup of heat. Wear a visor instead. The brim will protect your eyes and your face from the sun without covering the top of your head. If you do want to cover your head, you can also consider wearing a moisture wicking bandana like this Headsweats CoolMax Classic Bandana.
6. Prevent chafing. I’ve written before about my experience with chafing (OUCH), which can be a major problem when running in the heat. I think the biggest thing you can do to prevent chafing is to avoid wearing cotton clothing or socks. Synthetic materials are best. You can also apply anti-chafing products like BodyGlide, Vaseline, or sports tape to the areas where you tend to chafe. And wear spandex shorts if you chafe between your legs.
7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! It’s always important to hydrate before any kind of running, but this is especially critical when running outdoors in hot weather. Start hydrating before you run and bring water and/or an electrolyte drink with you on your run. There are several different types of drink holders, from handheld bottles to hydration vests and everything in between. Personally, I like to wear this hydration belt by Fuelbelt. It’s light, not too cumbersome, and it’s pink!
8. Know the signs of heat problems – and know your body! When running, if you become dizzy, disoriented, nauseated, have the chills, or stop sweating…. STOP RUNNING! Find some shade, take a drink, and rest. Heatstroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature. It is a life-threatening medical emergency and requires immediate medical treatment. Know your body and know your limits. I have found that I become overheated fairly easily in the peak of summer. Sometimes even though I am well-hydrated and running comfortably, I begin to experience chills all over my body. This is my body’s signal that it’s time for a break.
In time, your body will adjust to running in higher temperatures – it will probably take somewhere around two weeks to acclimate. That’s why it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to prepare for summertime racing.
How do you prepare for running in hot weather?
You can read more about what to wear and how to prepare for long training runs HERE!
And to follow my marathon training from the very beginning, start HERE.