Today was another lovely hot and sunny day. I love the sunshine and I’m definitely a sun worshiper. I will happily spend all day, everyday out in the sunshine and one of the best feelings is the heat of the sun on my skin. But when it comes to running in hot weather, even I struggle at times.
Yesterday, for example, I was taken by surprise by how hot it was during my 10 mile long run. Where I live we’d had a week of cool temperatures and seemingly constant rain, so when I headed outdoors for a run at 7.30am I was expecting it to be cool with maybe a little bit of drizzle. Instead, the temperature was already getting to the high teens and when running in the full glare of the morning sun it felt hot. I really struggled towards the end of the run and for the last four miles I had to run/walk just to get the miles done.
Right now I’m training for a marathon due to take place in September so I have no choice but to do my long runs no matter how hot it gets. I’ve marathon trained during the summer before and have also raced 10k and half marathons at this time of year, so over the years I’ve learnt a few ways to make running in hot weather easier.
Get out early
It might seem obvious to run early in the morning when it’s going to be a hot day, but there are so many times when I see people out running at midday on hot summer days. During the summer it is best to get out as early as possible for your run so that you’re running at the coolest part of the day. I will normally head out as early as I can at this time of year and on weekends I will aim to be out the door by 8am. This means that even if I’m doing a three hour long run I’m still able to avoid the midday heat.
Find the shade
If you’re able to, plan a running route that will provide lots of shade. For example, yesterday when I was running along a shaded lane it was so much easier than when I was out in the full glare of the sun. For more adventurous runners this is the perfect time to get off the road and explore new woodland running trails.
Staying hydrated is vital during your run. Having a bottle of water with you while you run is ideal, especially if you’re planning to do a long run. But it’s not just the water you drink while you run that is important, but staying hydrated throughout the day as well. I will always increase the amount of water I drink during the summer, especially the day before a long run, so that I’m fully hydrated before I even step out the door for my run.
What to wear
Along with planning when and where you run, as well as staying hydrated, what you wear is key to successful hot weather running. Wearing sports clothes that are designed to help you to stay cool and absorb sweat will help you stay cooler and more comfortable during your run. Also opting for shorts over running leggings, light coloured clothing and loose tops will all help to keep you cool when the weather gets hotter. And remember to apply sunscreen before your run as even if you’re running early in the morning the sun can still be harmful to your skin.
Go easy on your runs
When it’s really hot out there it’s not the time to train hard. Unless you are trained to do hard training sessions in the heat, it is unlikely you will be able to perform at your best and you could be putting your health at risk. Instead use the heat as an excuse to go easy on your runs and, if you find yourself struggling, switch to a run/walk to get yourself through the run safely.
I hope you find these tips useful and if you have any more let me know in the comments below.