It’s definitely not a secret that hot weather running is challenging and uncomfortable. I once raced a marathon when it was very hot and got my slowest time ever. I struggled for the last 5k and looking back, I wish I knew how to handle the heat better. Not only did I suffer during the race, but I also suffered afterwards. I was extremely tired, dealing with cramps, a headache and later-a sunburn, blisters and pain. That was a bad day but that experience lead me to want to train in the heat in order to get better at dealing with it. I’m proud to say that heat is no longer a deterrent for me if I want to go running.
What can you do to make your hot weather run more enjoyable?
- Hydrate properly. In order to avoid dehydration you have to drink enough water. At the same time, you cannot drink too much water or else you will risk suffering from hyponatremia. When hydrating, make sure that you also take in electrolytes (sodium) in order to keep your electrolytes balanced. You should consume approximately 200 calories from an electrolyte-rich source (ie. gels) for every 750 ml of water you drink. If you drink too much water and not enough electrolytes, you risk flushing out all the remaining electrolytes you have in your system.
- Slow it down and enjoy the run. Even a small rise in temperature can cause you to have to slow your pace down. Every 1° C above 18°C can cause you to have to slow down your pace by as much as 15-20 sec per km on average. Additionally, everybody is different and everyone’s heat tolerance varies, so the amount that you need to adjust your pace will vary. Don’t fight it. Enjoy your run and be happy that you are out there when everyone else is making excuses not to run because it’s too hot.
- Dress appropriately. Try to wear lighter colours and don’t wear too much clothing. Make sure that your clothing is breathable and moisture-wicking. If you wear too much clothing or clothing that’s too dark, you will feel uncomfortable during the run. Also, don’t forget your sunscreen in order to avoid getting a painful sunburn.
- Limit your alcohol intake prior to running. Too much alcohol can contribute to dehydration. Therefore, try not to drink at least 12 hours before running.
- Seek shade when possible. If you need to run in the heat, you should try to seek shade whenever possible. If possible, you should do your run on trails where there are a lot of trees to protect you from the hot sun. If you can’t run on trails nor find shade, try to do your run in the evening or earlier in the morning. When I was in the Bahamas, I did my run in the evening and the temperature, although still hot and humid, was significantly more tolerable during exercise.
If you found these tips helpful, please share with your friends and family who run.
by Yana The Cubicle Dweller