Running in the heat and humidity can be tricky. It’s easy to want to put your running on hold when temperatures rise. You can continue to get your run on and be ready to race this fall by following a few simple warm weather running strategies.
Early morning or late evening runs are going to be your best bet when summer temperatures rise. Plan your runs for non-peak hours. If you are a morning person, run before the sun comes up. If you are a night owl, run after the sun goes down. You’ll want to avoid running during times of the day when the sun is high in the sky and at it’s hottest.
A few weeks ago, Nick and I were visiting my family in Pennsylvania. We planned to run our normal 8-mile loop. We got up early, ate breakfast, then started doing other things. Before I knew it, it was 10:30am! We ended up running through the hottest part of the day on a route that did not have much shade. Bad idea.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
The cardinal rule of warm weather running– make sure you are hydrated! This does not mean you should chug a bottle of water as you are rushing out the door for your run. Plan ahead, drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Consider a fuel belt or hydration pack to carry water on your run. I’ve found that Nathan Hydration products fit my body best, but everyone is different, so find something that works well for you.
You could also plan your route to pass water fountains or stores where you can pop in and refill your bottle. If you are running long, you could consider staging bottles of ice water along your route. If you decide to stage water, make sure to hide them well or label them with the date so someone does not accidentally throw them away thinking they are trash.
When it’s hot, we sweat more (duh, obviously, Amanda!).
Sweating is good because it helps cool our bodies down. But when we sweat we lose sodium and electrolytes which are key to keeping our bodies functioning properly during exercise.
There are tons of options for electrolyte replacement. Experiment during shorter runs and find something that works for your body before using it on a long run.
Stay Out of the Sun
As we already discussed, the first and best option would be to run early morning or late evening when the sun isn’t up and hot– but I realize that is not always an option. When you are unable to avoid running during the day, plan a shady route as best as you can. Although not ideal, on really hot days, you could get your run done on an indoor track or the treadmill. Staying out of the sun also means wearing a hat or visor and sunglasses as well. I have mixed feelings on sunscreen, sweating and running– but that’s a topic for another discussion!
Find Ways to Cool Your Body Down
Find some non-traditional ways to cool your body down.
Does your route have sprinklers on it? Run through them! Bring extra water to dump on your head and back of your neck when you feel overheated. If you run with a hydration pack, consider putting an ice pack in the bag between the bladder and your back. Freeze a wet bandanna and run with it around your neck.
Running through the heat of the summer isn’t fun for most people. But if you plan to run a fall race, it’s almost guaranteed a necessity. You can help set yourself up for success by following these warm weather running strategies.
If you are looking for more running tips you can download my mini eBook where I discuss my tips on using running as a means to prevent, control, reduce and reverse various health concerns.