Running in the heat isn’t always ideal, but sometimes it’s necessary. Beat the heat with these summer running tips!
In my part of the country, today’s high is 100 degrees. Tomorrow it’s slated to be 107. Yes, ONE-OH-SEVEN. I’m not insane enough go out and run in that kind of heat (PTL for the treadmill!), but sometimes running when it’s hot out can’t be avoided. This is especially the case if you have a fall race on your calendar, as I do. A fall race means hot training runs, so it’s best to know how to stay safe so you can be your best on race day.
You might also like: Best Running Gear & Gadgets
I have lived in West Texas all my life, so the dry, miserable heat is all I’ve ever known. As a high school athlete, I spent a lot of time cheering, training, and running in the hot, hot sun. As a teenager, I never thought twice about it, but now that I’m older (and wiser!) I’ve learned a few things about how to beat the heat.
1 // Hydration
Hydration is extremely important when training, but that importance is only exasperated where heat is concerned. I’m not one to carry hydration on a run with me (I want to be as light as possible), but based on my last training-in-the-heat experience, I’m making amends to that. Always, always ensure that you are drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your runs. If that means dropping water on your route ahead of time, do it. If that means running by the house during your run, do it. Whatever you need to do to ensure you’re properly hydrated, do it! In my experience, when I think I’ve been drinking enough water, I could usually stand to drink a couple glasses more. 🙂
2 // Plan Your Run Around the Weather
Planning, like hydration, can be your greatest defense against the elements. As you’re looking over your training schedule for the week, look at the weather forecast as well. Plan your training for the coolest days, and if you can, the coolest time of the day. If the stars don’t align for you, don’t be ashamed to take a run or two indoors to the treadmill.
3 // Dress Appropriately
Light colors will keep you the coolest in the heat, regardless of your activity. White, light blue, and gray in moisture wicking materials are always good options. I prefer my tops to fit a bit looser, but that’s just personal preference. As far as bottoms go, I alternate between crops and shorts depending on my mood — again go for light colors. Shorts that “ride up” while I’m running are uncomfortable and distracting, so look for types that have a compression liner on the inside, or wear crops to avoid this issue completely.
You might also like: How to Workout With Asthma
4 // Use Sunscreen & Insect Repellant
This should go without saying, but sun protection is so important! Ideally, we are using sunscreen anytime we stepped outdoors, but especially when spending 45 minutes or longer right under the sun. Another something I’ve learned from outdoor running, especially in the Texas summer, is to use insect repellant! I can be outside for five minutes and before I know it I have three mosquito bites on my legs and four on my arms. Running is no different! Just because you’re moving a bit faster doesn’t mean they won’t find ya. Protect yourself with insect repellant and keep the bugs at bay!
5 // Let Go of Your Pride
Finally, a good run is not determined by running the entire distance without stopping. A good run is determined by how you feel during and after completion. It’s 100 percent OK to talk a walk break, scheduled or unscheduled, during a run. Let yourself take the break when you feel like you need it, don’t beat yourself up over it, and jump back in when you feel ready. There is no shame in walking! (I’m saying this as much to myself as to anyone else.)
Another good tip is to keep track of your heart rate. This can be done with a fitness tracker, or just by tuning into how your body feels. I find that my heart rate rises much faster when the temp is higher, so to keep myself from spending too much time in the peak zone I either have to A) slow down, or B) take more walk breaks.
Question: How do you survive summer runs?