How to Prepare for Running in the Heat

How to Prepare for Running in the Heat

Incase you weren’t aware, it’s finally getting warmer.  Although, if you are anything like the Northeast, our weather went from 30 degrees to 80.  It feels as though there wasn’t much middle ground!  Hopefully, your body adjusts faster than mine.

Thinking out loud, running in the heat can be a challenge.  Even though it’s usually more enjoyable than running in the cold, there are a lot of difficulties and obstacles you face by running in the warm weather too.

So How can you Prepare for Spring and Summer Running this Year?

Stay Hydrated

This is probably the most important advice!

It doesn’t mean drink a liter of water directly before your run.  It means staying hydrating throughout the day.

Drink more water before, after and during your run.  Also don’t forget that you also lose electryltes while running in warmer conditions.  During the warmer months, it’s important to add salt tabs or Gatorade to the mix too.  Every runner has their own personal preferance of what works for the stomach and system.  I am fortanate that most any electrolyte drink works well for me, I just need to remember to drink it.

Adjust your Run for the Temperature and Humidity

Don’t be ashamed to back off pacing or dial it back because it’s hot.  Run by effort and feel, not based on what the workout pace should be at ideal conditions.

For example, on Sunday, I had a tempo run scheduled.  It was 85 degrees and while my pace was “supposed” to be 6:45, I ran 7:18 and was struggling.  Was I upset?  No!  Was I injured?  No.  I adjusted my pace accordingly and ran by effort.   It’s important to take note that running in the heat effects your body and you won’t hit the same paces as running in ideal conditions.

Wear Appropriate Clothing:

You could run naked but that would end up being sunburnt and uncomfortable.  Don’t forget to wear sunscreen as well as moisture wicking clothing.  I’ll have to do a current post of running clothing I’m loving this season but in the mean time here are some things not to forget:

  • Hat (to keep sun off your face)
  • Moisture wicking and noncotton clothing: including a top, sports bra, shorts, underwear and socks.  Cotton anything will absorb sweat and become heaving causing blisters, chafing and who knows what else.
  • Sunglasses: To keep your eyes protected
  • Body glide and sunscreen (because chafing stinks)
Be Flexible with Your Schedule:

Whether you need to run inside or run early, don’t be afraid to change your plan.  Run at the best time of the day.

You aren’t a hero if you run in 100-degree heat at high noon!   In the winter, typically running at lunch time is ideal but that isn’t usually the case over the summer.  That’s normally when it’s the hottest.  Don’t be afraid to change the time of day you run or where you run.

There is no shame in running on the treadmill, especially when it’s the safest option.  You can usually find me there at least once per week.
In case you missed any of the previous weeks Running Store and Training:
Thoughts While Working in the Running Store
Should Race in Racing Flats?
Are you Getting Enough Protein for Running?
Why 5ks are the Best
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:
How to Transition in Minimalist Running Shoes
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
Questions for you:
What are some tips you have for running in the heat?
Do you like summer or winter running better? 


14 responses

  1. Summer is the only time of year when I happily pop out of bed nice and early! The light helps too, but knowing that it’s my one chance to beat the heat gets me moving. I do not deal with the heat well!

  2. During the summer months, I have to go running early in the morning, otherwise I won’t go. So scheduling is probably the biggest change for me during hot weather

  3. I prefer running in the cold. For some reason, I’ve always been a cold weather runner. I really notice a difference when it starts to warm up. I’ve tried to always schedule my half marathons and picked my one marathon because it would be in colder weather. Until my body acclimates, I just tell myself to run at a comfortable speed and drink plenty of water before, during and after the run. It will take two weeks or so, but I’ll be able to pick up the pace after that.

  4. When I get around to writing about Boston on Monday, I can talk about some of the effects of running in temps much warmer than the comfort zone and training cycle. My legs hurt. 🙂

  5. I moved from Minneapolis to Nashville last October. It’s only April and I am already struggling with the heat and humidity here! I am running a half marathon in a little over a week and then I plan to take a break from running long distance for the summer!

  6. Ugh, running in the heat is the worst. Still, I am NOT a morning runner, so I still usually run later in the day and just suffer. I’m not ready for summer!!

  7. I like running in the heat. My main health concern in the summer is getting a sunburn. I’ve already gotten squamous cell carcinoma from too much time in the sun.

    I acclimate to the heat by training in a sweatsuit while wearing a knit hat on the hottest days. I drive around with the windows rolled up and the heat on. Other people do this as well. After a while you get used to it, and you can run a race on the hottest days without any problem. It also helps to be thin with blood vessels close to the surface of your skin. This allows you to dissipate heat more efficiently. I can even take my pulse just by looking at my arm.

  8. Ughhhh hot weather, yuck! I usually dial back on time spent on a run and focus on tougher and shorter workouts, like dedicated speed work, running stadiums or hills – whatever sort of runs I feel like I need to do to get stronger but which won’t take a long time out in the heat. And when I do a longer run I just acknowledge that it’s going to be slow and painful and either do it late in the evening or first thing in the morning. Good luck with your summer running!

  9. All awesome tips! I wish it weren’t so, but the temperatures are definitely creeping up. I actually think I’d rather run in the heat than in extreme cold, but that’s probably just because I live in AL and that is what I have to do.

    • I cannot even imagine how hot and humid temps are in Alabama now. When I lived down there in the winter, it was already hot enough LOL.

  10. I run at 6am, which makes the weather more bearable. But I run with a group that doesn’t meet for long runs until 7am on Sundays, and those runs get a little warm for me. Last year I walked during a bunch of them, which I don’t like. This year I’m prepared to run earlier and run slower so I can get all my miles in, preferably all running. I’m going to be training for the Chicago marathon and I’ll feel better about it mentally if I can find a way to run continuously in the heat.

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