*10 Tips for running in the heat originally published in 2016, updated June 2019*
As the weather warms up, it’s wise to take a few minutes to think about how this will change your runs. (because newsflash: it will change them, especially if you live in the south like me!) If you don’t plan ahead, you may be setting yourself up for failure (or heat stroke!) so be careful and make sure you are prepared. Here are my 10 best tips for running in the heat.
1.) Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen! Also, for really long runs, I reapply after an hour. I try to find more “sweatproof” ones, or ones made specifically for my face or body etc. as I am more prone to breakouts. Not only is not wearing sunscreen setting yourself up for skin cancer, but it sure will make you miserable for a few days!
2.) Wear a running hat or visor. I always feel so much cooler not having the sun directly on my face. Plus it will help fight against wrinkles and sun damage and can help keep sweat out of your eyes.
3.)Hydrate ahead of time, and bring water with you. Don’t wait until you are already thirsty to start drinking water. Begin hydrating the night before and the morning of your run. I have a small insulated cooler I pack my drinks in with an ice pack so I can grab them at the car as needed. I also like Gatorade/Powerade because I sweat a lot and need to replace some electrolytes. Nuun and coconut water will do the trick as well. I occasionally take gels or Gu’s or straight salt packs.
4.) Wear loose-fitting moisture-wicking fabrics. Cotton is never your friend as a runner, but particularly when you are sweating a lot. Your shirt will get really heavy and may cause chaffing and rubbing. Quite frankly, in the summer I prefer to just wear a sports bra and no shirt, then I can feel the breeze directly on my skin. Don’t worry about who is looking at you, when you feel like you are running on the surface of the sun, who cares right?
5.) Try to run early in the morning or after the sun goes down at night. Between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM is when the suns rays are the worst, so avoid those times if possible. It will still be very warm in the evening, especially with heat coming up from the pavement warmed all day, but when the sun is down it feels nicer!
6.) Pace yourself. Don’t expect to have an awesome training run in which you PR at noon in July. Stop or slow down if you need to. Be realistic about your expectations, and live to fight another day. Remember, winter PR’s are made in the summer, so just keep going and don’t stress about running slower!
7.) This goes with number 6, listen to your body! If you start to feel overheated or dizzy/lightheaded, walk, or find some shade and take a break/sit down. One run is not worth your health.
8.) If you must run in the heat of the day, run short. I know some people may not have an option due to childcare, work, or other obligations, but if you must run in the middle of the day keep it short, or use those days for slower easier runs.
9.) Washcloth trick: Put a wet washcloth in the freezer, then carry it with you on your run. It will keep you nice and cool if you put it on your neck or wipe your face with it.
10.) Keep drinking water after your run. Sometimes if I don’t drink enough during a really hot run, I get a bad headache and am more exhausted later in the day. Be sure to take care of your body AFTER you run, and not just during!
QOTD: Any tips I forgot for running in the heat? What has helped you?