For some people, summer is here in strength, for others (like myself), it is only really just starting to rear its head. For anyone who has trained outside for a few years, these tips seem second nature. However, for those who are new to hot weather running, and those who haven’t even ventured outdoors yet, this list should help out with preparing for the heat!
Running in hot weather is difficult, it is uncomfortable and the risks associated are a lot greater than when the weather is cooler. However, there are benefits to be had. Hot weather associates with longer daylight hours, so you can manage a little more before you retire. Also, better weather means no rain, means better views, means an overall more enjoyable run.
Take it to the treadmill
If running outdoors in the heat is not really your bag, or you have a particularly intense workout or speed run planned, the best bet is to head indoors and work it on the treadmill. The dangers of hydration for intense workouts in hot weather are too drastic, and it is overall safer to retire to an air conditioned room and wait for the cooler air.
Beat the heat
The SkinnyRunner article on this offers an alternative to indoor workouts. Trying to beat the heat by taking to the streets early or late can be just as effective. The air is fresher, without the dust particles during the sun or the dryer air from conditioning, the air is cool enough to run in, and it is either a great way to kick off, or end your day. Longer daylight hours are great for this.
Gearing your routes to the weather is also a great idea, by avoiding flat concrete or tarmac areas, instead moving to parks or woodland, you can shade dodge and keep heat down.
It seems so obvious that it almost goes without saying, but it is also so very important. Running requires you to stay hydrated, running in the sun, even more so.
Before you go out, hydrate thoroughly. Many runners drink 16oz of water (or mix) 2 hours before running, then another 8-16oz 15 minutes before going out. Taking enough drink with you is best practice too. As you will sweat out a lot of fluid, keeping intake consistent while running will keep you topped up, keep you cool and help prevent dehydration and exhaustion. Another benefit of carrying water is that you can easily pour it over you to keep the heat down.
After running, make sure that electrolytes are replenished, sports drinks such as lucozade and gatorade are great for this.
Wear light, loose fitting clothing. Allowing air to circulate around your skin will keep you cool by removing the hot air quickly. Light colours will help reflect the sunlight, giving you that extra cool burst. Wear a visor instead of a hat to allow the release of heat through your head.
You will not be able to manage your normal pace or distance from the outset in hot weather. Start slow and short, and work up to what you normally do. Most runners spend 2 weeks acclimatizing to the hot weather.
This is vital. Suncreen prevents burning, keeps health risks associated with UV rays at a minimum, and also helps prevent uncomfortable feelings post run.
Know what the warning signs are of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Know that if you feel dizzy, you need to stop. Checking your urine after a run is a great indication of whether you hydrated enough, and you can adjust next time. Also knowing when it is best just to avoid running is vital. You may feel like a superhero pushing through fire and flames to finish a run in blistering heat. However, if this stops you from going out for a week because of exhaustion, is it really worth it?