It seems a little strange to be thinking about running in hot weather right now. After the winter that most of us just experienced, being warm sounds like the best thing ever. I’m having a hard time even figuring out what to wear on a 30 degree run right now (so warm!) let alone an 80 degree day. My brain just can’t comprehend humidity and high temps. But it will get hot. Eventually.
The warmer the weather, the harder your body has to work to keep you cool. Heart rates are higher and breathing is more rapid at your normal running pace. As your body heats up, blood is directed to the skin to cool you off through sweating. This means less blood is available to transport oxygen to your muscles, making what usually is an easy effort, way harder.
If you are new to the running scene, you are probably wondering how to survive running in hazy, hot and humid weather. Here are eight tips to keep you running cool all summer long.
1. Run early.
Morning temperatures are usually the coolest during the summer. It also will give you a break from the strongest hours of sunlight.
2. Less is best.
Wear as little clothing as legally possible. Also stick to light-colored, loose, wicking material. Now is not the time for wearing all black.
3. Protect yourself.
Even if it’s early morning or partly cloudy, protect yourself from skin cancer and other skin damage by using sunscreen.
4. Slow down.
Run for time and effort rather than distance and pace.
5. Start slow.
Always warm up before a run, especially when the temperatures are high. You want to gradually increase your heart rate rather than starting out too fast.
6. Hit the trails.
When the temperatures rise, asphalt and concrete absorb heat and radiate it back into your face. Trail running usually offers shade from trees. It also forces you to slow down. Bonus if the trail has the perfect place to jump in a lake or river along the way.
If you are running more than 75-90 minutes, carry a hand-held water bottle or a hydration pack with you or stash water bottles along your intended route ahead of time if you don’t like carrying anything in your hands. Plan your route along accessible drinking fountains.
8. Take it inside.
If it’s really hot and humid and your only option to run is at the hottest part of the day, take it inside to the treadmill.