Preparation is key when it comes to running in the hot summer weather. Training outside in the summer months can be a great experience, but it’s important to take care of yourself while hot weather running. In fact, it can be extremely dangerous to run outdoors for too long without proper protection and good hydration. Therefore, we’ve provided you with five essential tips for running in the heat, protecting you from the peak heat of summer, and enabling you to get the most out of your training.
Running in the Heat Tips
1. Wear appropriate hot weather running gear
When running in the heat, you’ll need to switch up your running gear from what you wear during the cooler times of the year. In hotter climates, we recommend reducing your clothing to shorts and a tank top (or t-shirt), so you don’t overheat on route. Similarly, avoid dark clothing to ensure you don’t attract more heat to your body while training. Also, a running backpack or hydration pack can help you to store water and other essentials while running. Not only is this much safer, but it provides you with the tools to perhaps run a little further than usual during the hot summer months.
Also, alongside your choice of clothing, you should consider wearing a hat for hot weather running. This will offer your head the protection it needs, keeping you cooler while training. Furthermore, you may find a pair of sunglasses to be another important accessory. They’ll work to protect your eyes and stop you from having to squint when facing the sun. Oh, and don’t forget to protect your skin too, regularly applying sun cream, which can stop you from getting burnt or potentially developing harmful skin conditions in the future.
2. Slow it down and take it easy
While you may be keen to keep up with your current training plan in the summer months, we recommend slowing down your pace a little to help you acclimatise to hot weather running.
Even your regular level of effort will seem much more difficult in the heat, so don’t try to push yourself too far. If you usually run a certain route during your training, put aside more time and don’t beat yourself up for your pace or times during these months. It’s much better to take things nice and steady instead of burning yourself out early on in your run and having to walk the rest of the route home.
3. Take breaks if needed
While so many runners feel guilty for taking breaks, in the summer, this is sometimes crucial to avoid you from overheating. Don’t be afraid to take a few minutes out to rest or drink some water, which will help you to avoid overheating. If you don’t feel like you can run for as long as usual, consider walk-run intervals during the hotter weather. You’ll still be offering your body a great workout without a higher risk of sunstroke (and other heat-related conditions) from spending too much time in the direct sunlight. If you have the option, find a shaded route that can offer you some protection from the sun.
4. Drink plenty of water
Without a doubt, the number one consideration when hot weather running is to increase your water intake. Drinking more water before, during, and after your training session will stop you from becoming dehydrated and could also improve your performance. For that extra refreshing first gulp, consider freezing water bottles on those extra hot days, helping to protect you against those scorching hot temperatures.
5. Stick to shorter warm-ups for hot weather running
During the summer months, your muscles warm up much faster when hot weather running. Shorten your usual warm-up time to reduce the chance of a heat-related injury. The hot weather helps your muscles to warm up faster during this time, so you will still feel the same benefits from a shorter warm-up as opposed to your usual, perhaps slightly longer one. On those days where it’s especially hot, you may want to consider delaying your workout until later on in the day when the sun has set to avoid any chance of injury or illness.
The bottom line
Hot weather running can present many challenges to runners, but by following these tips listed above, you’ll protect yourself while you are running in the heat. There’s no need to reduce the amount you train in the summer when proper precautions are taken. You may prefer to stick to early mornings or late nights to avoid the hottest part of the day, but by hydrating and wearing the proper hot weather gear, you’ll protect your body during the higher temperatures.
This article is brought to you by Matthew from Running101; a running blog bringing you the best training tips, gear reviews, and the most up-to-date running news.