6 Tips for Running in Heat

Read these tips to keep safe and prevent burnout during hot weather runs.

Things are starting to heat up outside, which means now is a great time to start preparing for running in the heat. Heat and humidity can make running a greater challenge and wreak havoc on your pace. In warmer weather, your body has a harder time cooling, causing your body to work extra hard. Your heart rate elevates and breathing becomes more rapid than it is during your normal pace. But fear not. There are a few tricks for running in the heat that will keep you going safely.

Hydrate

Hydration is key when it comes to running at any time of year, but it is especially important when in the heat. If your workout is less than 45 minutes in duration, water is all you need. But if you run longer than 45 minutes, you should aim to drink 3 to 8 fluid ounces of sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish electrolytes and energy stores. According to new research in a recent study at the University of Arkansas, thirst alone is not the best indicator of your need for hydration.

Be Patient and Change Things Up

Your body may take about two weeks to adapt to running in the heat. Slow your pace, reduce your intensity and be patient with your body rather than trying to push through it. This will enable your body to acclimate so you can continue to run without running into burnout. Your body will slowly become better at cooling off so you can run at your normal pace again.

Take Breaks if Necessary

This is especially important for new runners, but all individuals can benefit from this. Allow power breaks every 4 to 8 minutes when getting started with running in the heat. This allows your body to cool down some, helping you to manage your core body temperature. You want to avoid your body temperature rising too much, at the risk of overheating. Overheating can slow you down a lot.

Run During Cooler Times of the Day

The temperature is usually cooler in the morning and evening. If you run in the morning, you may run into higher humidity but will still be able to avoid the high temperatures of the day. The air quality is generally better in the morning as well. Avoid running between 12 and 3 pm.

Pay Attention to the Weather

If a heat alert or poor air quality have been listed for the day, consider running indoors. Running outdoors in dangerous heat will do you much more harm than good and can force your body into overdrive, taking more time to recover from the workout than usual. Nobody will judge you for hitting the treadmill for a day or two.

Dress Accordingly

Dress in technical apparel that is light colored, loose-fitting and wicking, which allows moisture to pass through to be evaporated. This will help to keep you cooler. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB rays and perhaps a hat or visor as well. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen.