If you are fortunate enough to have air conditioning it is sometimes hard to leave your home or car when it is ninety plus degrees outside. We know you would much rather sit in the cool air or by the pool with your favorite drink when the heat cranks up a notch but if you want to continue your training for the next race you have planned you need to figure out a way to safely run in the heat. We’ve put together a list of six simple yet effective ways to run safely in the heat this summer.
In the same way that you are supposed to increase mileage at a slow rate to keep from injury, you shouldn’t expect to do your same speed work, distance, or intensity when the heat is extreme. Don’t let your pride get in the way and be sure to cut your workout short if you aren’t feeling well in the heat. Your body will tell you what it can and can’t do, so be smart not to overdo it.
Don’t Get Burned
Make sure to wear waterproof sunscreen so you don’t get a nasty sunburn, and if you have thin or no hair you may want to wear a hat to protect your head. Remember, heat is released through your head so if you do wear a hat make sure to wear a running hat that is breathable and wicking.
Cross Train Indoors
If you have a membership to the gym or treadmill or bike in your house it may be more comfortable to cross train indoors than outside in the extreme heat. Be flexible to change your plans based on the weather.
Run in the Morning or Evening
This seems to be common sense, but the earlier in the morning or later at night you can run the better to avoid extreme heat. It is not advisable to run in the dark, but try to plan your running around the coolest parts of the day, especially your intense speed work.
Cotton is Rotten
Make sure you wear light colored, wicking apparel to keep you cooler when running in the heat. Your cotton shirt and socks will get drenched in perspiration quickly, and will offer an extremely unpleasant experience for the rest of your run. Wicking shirts and socks will pull the sweat away from your skin to keep you cool and comfortable.
Have a Hydration Plan
Quite possibly the most important part of running in the heat is making sure you are properly hydrated before, during, and after your run. Be like a camel and start drinking early because you will sweat the most the first part of your run. Instead of drinking plain water, try an enhanced electrolyte to replace all the minerals, sodium, and potassium you sweat out. A water belt can be an extremely important piece of gear to keep your hydration close when on a long run.
Which of these has worked well for you? Do you have any other tips for running in the heat?