Running in the Heat

We are in Texas, and it’s June, so I thought I would go over a few tips about maintaining your running throughout the summer. You might actually find that training in the heat helps improve your overall fitness and running levels, including your stamina, endurance and cardio abilities. But it definitely isn’t easy and can feel, at times, like you just won’t be able to do it. So here are pointers to keep in mind to help you endure the heat, sun, and humidity.

  • Go early in the day–it’s always better if you can get outside before the sun makes its way up. Sometime between 6 and 6:30 AM is ideal. If your not a morning person…try for after 7 or 7:30 PM. The heat during the day is really not worth enduring if you have the option.
  • Wear sunscreen Even if it’s early, put on sunscreen to protect against sun damage and sun burns.
  • Hydrate before, during, and after. Depending on where you choose to run, there are often water stops and drinking fountains available at the parks and along the trails. Some people like to carry their own water, others might find this too cumbersome. If you don’t like to drink during a run, be sure that you fully hydrate before and after. Not doing so can make you feel overly tired and lead to more severe issues such as dizziness, muscle cramps, and heat exhaustion.
  • Wear light clothing that helps keep you cooler. If you wear a hat for sun protection, make sure it is made of a comfortable and lightweight material too.
  • Consider breaking up your workouts into shorter periods. For example, run for 15-20 minutes in the morning before it gets too hot, and then again for another 15-20 in the evening when the sun goes down. Try to use the shorter time to motivate yourself to go a bit faster than you normally would in the heat because it’s not as long of a run.
  • If you belong to a gym, add some more treadmill workouts so you can to give yourself time in the air conditioning. If you only have access to run outside, find a shady course that provides you with some variety and keeps you away from the heat, such as on a trail or the greenbelt.
  • Don’t push yourself to do as much as you can in the winter. Your body temperature will get hotter faster, and you just might not be able to do what you can in the cool weather. And that’s fine! Just being consistent with your days and weekly mileage is great when you consider the conditions.