As I get older, the more I love the summer time. It seems like our winters are getting longer and our summers shorter. At least it seems this way in the North East. Our springs and falls and more like an extended winter compared to what they used to be. So, I am beginning to cherish summer more and more every year. And with that comes running in the summer heat.
I’ve been an athlete for as long as I can remember, and I’d like to share some things I’ve learned over the years both from personal experience and from coaches along the way. Our summers get super hot and sticky in Northeast PA. Regardless of where you live it’s important to know how to run in the heat of the summer. Dehydration and heat stroke are a real and dangerous thing and everyone, not just runners, should take precautions in the intense heat.
Running in the Summer Heat
5 Tips to Run in the Heat
- Avoid running during the peak sun and temperature hours of the day. This might mean you have to get up a little earlier or wait a little longer before you get your run in. Many people like to get their run in early in the morning, which is honestly the best time to do it. Before the heat gets too hot and the sun too strong. There are many benefits to getting your workout done in the morning.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Drink water before you run, especially if you plan to run later on. Make sure you are hydrating throughout the day to prevent dehydration from the heat. There are many studies on the relationship between room temperature versus cold water with regard to working out and dehydration. Which one is better? The simple answer is it depends. The most important thing is for you to drink water, so I recommend drinking it at the temperature that will cause you to drink the most of it.
- Wear light clothing. Use a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Your body temperature increases when you work out, so prepare by wearing lighter clothing. If you have ever watched a marathon or a race on TV you will notice many runners wearing tank tops and shorts even if it’s cold outside. It’s all about managing your core temperature and by doing so it prevents them over heating and can increase performances. It’s much easier to run in the cold than the hot summer temperatures.
- Carry water with you if you can. Depending on the length of your run, it is advisable to take water with you. This allows you to hydrate throughout the duration of your run and can prevent you from getting dehydrated.
- If you are start to feel lightheaded, dizzy, nausea/vomiting or have a severe headache immediately stop, find shade and call for help. This is the time for cold water. Please note that there is a difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Here is information from the CDC on the differences. When in doubt call 911 for medical attention.
I hope this helps! Be safe out there!