With summer just around the corner, temperatures are heating up and in some places, Arizona I’m talking to you, running in the summer can be downright miserable! What’s ironic is that as I’m sitting here writing this post it’s currently raining and 45 degrees out…not exactly feeling like summer is coming. However, I did spend 29 years living in Arizona and am all to familiar with hot summers. Over the years I have learned many valuable tips and tricks for how to deal with running in the heat. Below are some of my top tips for making it through the hot summer months and still continuing to keep up with your running routine.
Run Early or Late
Even when it’s a 100+ degrees out running early in the morning or later at night can be a lot cooler than running in the heat of the day. Not only are the temperatures cooler, but you also don’t have the hot sun beating down on you. I always prefer to do my summer running in the morning, but if you aren’t a morning person, waiting until the sun goes down at night works too.
Run with Water
I’m going to tell you how important it is for you to be carrying water on your runs when it’s hot, but then I’m also going to tell you that I don’t do it. It’s suggested that you drink 4-8 ounces of water during your run on a hot day. However, these are just guidelines. You know your body better than anyone else, so drink an amount that is fit for you. Now if you’re like me and can’t stand to be carrying things when you are running your other option is to plan a route where you know there are drinking fountains. I always plan my long runs around parks where there is guaranteed to be a drinking fountain that I can rehydrate at. Whatever method works for you, make sure you are consuming enough on hot and humid days.
Wear Breathable Light Running Clothes
Please don’t be one of those crazy morons I’ve seen running at 12:00 in the afternoon on a 100 degree day in a sweatshirt and pants seeing how much they can sweat to drop a few pounds. It’s dangerous and dumb. Choose running clothes that are light in color, well ventilated, and lightweight. Make sure to apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses as well if you are going to be out when the sun is.
Don’t Expect PR’s During Hot Summer Months
If you live somewhere that is extra hot or humid, consider the hot summer months more of your maintenance training. Don’t go into June and July thinking that’s the time you’re going to amp up your training and set PR’s. Your body is working a lot harder when it’s hot outside so don’t get upset if your pace seems to have slowed down. It’s perfectly normal and you can’t expect your body to perform the same when it’s 90 degrees out compared to 60 degrees. Just embrace it and know that come fall all that hot weather training will have paid off.
Hydrate Early and Throughout the Day
Here we are talking about water again, but it is so important to be hydrated when you are out running, especially when it’s hot outside. Making sure that you are consuming enough water throughout the day will ensure that you will run better and will help ward off any heat related illnesses that can happen while out on a hot run. Make sure to top off your fluid stores 30-60 minutes before you head out the door. If you lost a lot of sweat on your run, replace some of those electrolytes with a sports drink and then continue drinking more water throughout the day.
There are many things to factor in when it comes to running in the heat. The tips I’ve suggested above are ones that work and are important to me, however, there are plenty more tips out there. Just remember to be smart and have common sense when it comes to the heat and know that those hot summer months won’t last forever!