Hot Weather Running
Tips for running in heat and humidity
Here in the California valley, we’ve been experiencing some pretty high temperatures - this August, it got as high as 112°F! How did my athletes manage to still hit the pavement in the heat? I have them follow these five easy guidelines to make sure they’re able to run safely and efficiently despite the warmth.
Tips for running in the heat:
Plan ahead. Plan out your runs ahead of time! Check the weather forecast to choose what time you’ll get started and what route you’ll take. Not only will this provide accountability when you’re struggling to find motivation to run in the heat, it will allow you to ensure your body is hydrated and properly fueled.
Increase hydration. Hydrate before, during, and after your run. Drink 8-10 ounces every hour leading up to your run to ensure you’re properly hydrated when you start. Remember that thirst is not a good indicator of your hydration level! Running while dehydrated can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening medical emergency. If you prefer not to run with a hydration pack or water bottle, then be sure to plan a running route that has water fountains, hydration stops, or friendly merchants or restaurants. If the area allows, you can also stash water bottles along your route.
Dress properly. Be sure to wear loose fitted and light-colored clothing for maximum comfort. Choose breathable fabrics that offer moisture-wicking and also consider chafing prevention. Of course, don’t forget your sunscreen and eye protection!
Run when conditions are coolest. Plan your runs for the coolest points of the day: early mornings or late evenings. If possible, run in shaded areas, near water, or on grass, and avoid heat-reflecting asphalt and concrete. If even the coolest temperatures are over 85°F, consider running indoors, or opt for strength training or swimming instead! For areas with high humidity, avoid running outside if the humidity is above 80%, which may prevent your body’s natural temperature regulation through sweat evaporation.
Slow your pace. It’s important to stay consistent with training throughout the summer, but be patient with yourself as your body adapts to the warmer temps. Don’t get discouraged if your pace seems a little slower; this is perfectly normal! My general rule of thumb is to add 5-10 seconds for every 10°F above your average running temperature. For example, if you normally run in 50°F weather, but will be running in 60°F, adjust your pace by 5-10 seconds; in 70°F, by 20-25 seconds. If you tend to measure your success by pace, I encourage you to focus on running for time and effort, rather than distance and pace.
Benefits of Running in the Heat
Don’t let the heat deter you from training! The challenge can make you a better and faster runner as well as these body benefits:
Decreased blood lactate
Increased rate of perspiration
Increased blood plasma volume
Have fun and enjoy yourself, but use common sense. Please be sure to listen to your body! If you begin to feel dizzy, nauseated, have the chills, or stop sweating… STOP RUNNING, find shade, and drink water.
Stay cool and safe this summer! Before you know it, winter will be here and we’ll be looking for tips to run in the cold!