Woof. I hate running in the heat, I am the weirdo who runs outside all through the winter, through rain, sleet, wind and freezing cold, but transitions to the treadmill in the summer when the rest of the running folk flock outdoors. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in a cooler climate most of my life, and while I love a good sunny, hot day on a boat, bbq or lazy day in the sun, it’s not my favorite weather to work out in.
I do my best to avoid running in the heat by getting up early or doing indoor classes or treadmill workouts but when training for a race, longer outdoor runs are unavoidable. I want to be able to enjoy the summer, getting lots of vitamin D and outdoor training.
Here are some ways to make running in the heat more bearable, or even almost enjoyable.
How to stay cool in the heat!
1. Clothing matters ~ Make sure to choose loose fitting and lightly colored clothing when exercising outdoors, avoid dark colors. Special tech clothing meant to wick away moisture is even better. Hats or visors are great for keeping heat off your head and sunshine off your face which can help keep you cooler and not squinting through your workout.
2. Protect your skin ~ No one enjoys a sunburn, even worse, one in the shape of a sports bra or t-shirt. I have a permanent sports watch tan line year round that I rock proudly! Make sure to apply sunscreen at least SPF 30 or higher before heading out for a run. Don’t forget ears, face and the back of your neck.
3. Early or later is better ~ If you can, plan your workouts earlier in the day before it gets really hot, or late evening when there is more shade and it has begun to cool off. Avoid midday or early afternoon runs when the sun is at it’s hottest. Try running in the shade as much as you can.
4. Stay hydrated ~ Make sure you are drinking plenty of water all day, and especially during your exercise, never go out in the heat without your water bottle regardless of how long your workout is. I always wear my camelback with chilled water whether I’m going for a 3 mile run, doing a stair workout or knocking out a 10 miler.
5. Plan ahead ~ Map out your run ahead of time with a planner like mapmyrun.com
to make sure you’ll have places to stop for extra water. You can also choose a shadier route to stay out of the sun.
6. Slow down ~ When it’s very hot outside, you will want to slow down your pace or take breaks during your workout to make sure you don’t get overheated, it’s ok pace yourself to make sure you feel good throughout your workout.
7. Replace electrolytes ~ For intense outdoor activity, you will definitely be sweating. Make sure after your exercise you replace the electrolytes you lost, Nuun tablets are a great option after and during exercise, just stay away from high calorie bars or things high in sugar.
8. Listen to your body ~ Most importantly, if you feel too hot, dizzy or lightheaded at any point, stop, get out of the sun immediately and sip some water slowly until you feel able to resume activity.
Have fun out there folks, good luck staying cool! Let me know if you have any tips or things that work really well for you!