How to run in hot weather (without melting into a puddle)
Baby, it’s HOT outside….
So while I shiver away in the middle of NZ’s winter, I know a lot of you are probably reading this from the other side of the world and are in the middle of your summer. And it’s been a scorcher for some of you! 38 degrees celsius in London?!
You might be wondering just how to run in hot weather, without expiring. It’s a tricky one: we can add as many layers as we like to run in the cold, but there are only so many we can take off it it’s hot. So what’s a girl to do?
I’m sharing my tips for running in hot weather, and I’m off to sunny Australia for a much needed holiday next week: hopefully I’ll be able to implement some of them myself :).
Running in the heat can be dangerous
So these tips will not only help you feel more comfortable, they’ll also help keep you safe. I’ll be posting another day about some of the health problems you can encounter if you overdo your run on a hot day.
Pick your moment
Can you run in the early morning, or later in the evening? If you can, DO. Running when the sun is at it’s least intense is probably the simplest way to look after your body for mid summer running. The sun is at its peak at around midday, so if you’re a lunch time runner, you might want to change up your routine a little.
Getting dehydrated on a run will make you feel miserable, and recover more slowly. Drink before you go out and carry fluid with you. If this is not possible, try to include water fountains etc on your run so you can stop off and drink from them. Read more here.
But don’t drink too much
Drinking too much on a run is actually more dangerous than not drinking enough. If you drink too much, you can upset the balance of electrolytes in your blood, because you dilute it. This can be a life threatening situation. I’ll be writing a whole post just on this topic, so watch this space.
Warm up to it
See what I did there? (sorry) You might want to start with a 20 minute run one day, see how that goes, and gradually increase it. This will build your tolerance for running in the heat, your body will perform better, and you’ll enjoy your run more.
Change the intensity
Running in the heat is really hard work, so you should be prepared for your run to feel harder than you might expect. This is partly because the blood which usually carries oxygen to your muscles gets diverted out to the skin, to help you sweat. If you try to push yourself, you could do some damage, so ease off a bit. Don’t do those hill reps in the midday sun!
Sweat, sweat, sweat
Sweat is our body’s cooling system. The cooling happens when sweat evaporates.
If it’s humid: the sweat can’t evaporate, so the cooling system won’t work properly. You could overheat. Dial back the intensity.
If it’s dry: your sweat will evaporate more quickly, which could lead to dehydration. Carry water with you. If you don’t have access to water, shorten your run.
Go for light, breathable fabrics in light colors. Perfect excuse to get some new gear if you don’t own anything suitable :). I always run in a white, breathable cap: this helps keep my head cool, keeps the sweat out of my eyes, disguises my frizzy hair, and offers some sun protection. Don’t forget your sunblock.
Do you have any hot tips for running well in the heat? I’d love to hear them, so please share them in the comments below.
Your running buddy,
image 1 by Moyan Brenn, CC 2.0, https://flic.kr/p/a4VW2z, image 2 by Matt Salas, CC 2.0, https://flic.kr/p/pimRQn