6 Tips for Running in the Heat

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  • 6 Tips for Running in the HEAT

1.) TIME IT RIGHT

If possible, run before the sun comes up or after it goes down to beat the heat. While this isn’t always a possibility for everyone due to schedules – it may be worth exploring some schedule swaps to make it happen!


2.) EASE IN

You can acclimate to hotter conditions with time – this is called heat acclimatization & comes from gradually increasing both the amount and the intensity of the work you’re doing in the heat over time.

Start with 10‒15 minutes/day of light exercise and progressively increase the duration and intensity of your runs or workouts (heat acclimation typically takes about 1-4 weeks). The adaptations your body made to working in the heat will start to dissipate after about a week away from working in the heat – so if you’re also doing treadmill running indoors regularly, just make sure that you take this into consideration when returning back outdoors to the heat. It’s OKAY if every single run isn’t your best, your body is adjusting.

In addition, it’s imporatant to note that working as HARD AS YOU CAN will NOT improve heat acclimatization. Rather, it will actually hurt you in the long-run. So make sure you’re easing in and listening to your body rather than pushing to the brink immediately. However, you DO need to gradually increase the work load that you’re doing outside in the heat in order to adapt. For example – if you’re training for a half marathon at the end of summer, it’s important to do longer and longer runs outside as your body acclimates, so that you’re prepared for the full distance in the heat on race day.


3.) GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

Your body has to work harder in the heat, and this can sometimes impact your pace. This is NORMAL. Give yourself some grace with your pace & remember that consistency is key. It’s also okay to switch up your training & hit the gym, a class, or do an indoor strength workout instead some days! Just remember that your body IS doing the work and WILL benefit from the training you’re doing, even if it doesn’t FEEL like it’s going as well. Summer training creates fall PR’s – don’t forget that!


4.) CHOOSE THE RIGHT GEAR

Avoid dark colors & cotton clothing. Dark colors can attract the sunlight and absorb the heat from the sun while cotton clothing soaks up sweat & leads to all kinds of issues: chafing, heavy clothes, blisters, rubbing, and bacteria. In addition, it can trap the heat & leave you feeling like you just can’t cool down.

Instead, choose light colors which reflect the light and keep you cool. You can also choose materials that are quick drying, sweat wicking, and breathable. Small changes & tweaks can make a big difference!


5.) CHECK THE HUMIDITY

In humid conditions, sweat does not evaporate as well as it does in nonhumid conditions, so the chance for overheating increases. Make sure you’re aware of the humidity level before heading outside & adjust accordingly. You may need to pack some extra water and electrolytes when the humidity is higher. It’s also okay to go a bit easier when the humidity is high. Running based on FEEL vs. PACE can be a very helpful strategy on the super humid summer days.


6.) HYDRATE & FUEL

Don’t forget to hydrate throughout your run & load up on those electrolytes! The more you are sweating – the more water and electrolytes you will need!

Just remember that we are each unique and therefore our needs will vary greatly – keep exploring what works best for YOU personally.


Amy Haas
Run with Aim, LLC
UESCA Certified Running Coach
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Certified Nutrition Coach

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