With the summer now in full swing, don’t let the hot weather ruin your runs. There are ways to combat the heat and in this post I’d like to share my essential tips for running in the heat and humidity.
Tips for running in the heat and humidity
Summer running causes physiological changes in your body. Your body will be working in overdrive to help combat the heat. Your heart rate will be higher, your breathing more difficult and you will be sweating a lot more.
Your body will also direct blood to your skin to help you cool down, meaning there will be less blood available to transport oxygen to your muscles. Running at an easy pace will feel more like an all-out speedwork session!
As with anything, it’s better to be prepared to make things that little more comfortable. Don’t let running in the sun put you off – there are plenty of things you can try.
With these simple tips for running in the heat and humidity, your run will hopefully be an enjoyable one!
Wear less clothing
This may sound obvious but I’m sure there have been times where you’ve set out for a run only to stop 10 minutes in because you’re overheating.
Make sure you wear gear that is designed for those hot, summer months and allows your skin to breathe. This means prioritising light-coloured, loose and sweat wicking materials.
Polyester and lightweight Merino wool are all examples of some good sweat wicking and odor resistant fabrics.
Stay away from cotton as, although it’s light and breathable, it’s not ideal for warm weather as it absorbs moisture and holds it next to your skin.
Chafing can also be a nightmare during summer months. Invest in some anti-chafing cream such as Bodyglide. This can be a lifesaver during the hot weather running.
I can’t underestimate the importance of sunscreen during the summer months. I personally wear sunscreen every single day during the summer when I’m running and out and about.
It’s important that you protect yourself from sun damage by using a quality sunscreen before every run.
There are lots of sweat proof sunscreens on the market nowadays for runners and outdoor enthusiasts. Brands like Coppertone, Think Sport and Blue Lizard all offer their versions. Trust me, you do not want sunscreen and sweat in your eyes when you’re running.
Be sure to choose sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended outdoor activity. If you have sensitive skin, it may also be worth checking if the cream has been dermatologically tested aswell.
Wear a baseball cap and sunglasses
Protect your skin even further by wearing a baseball cap. This will not only protect your skin, but it will also help to keep your face shaded.
You may also want to consider wearing a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. Sometimes running in the sun is too uncomfortable without a good pair of sunglasses – all that squinting can give you a headache.
A normal pair of sunglasses may not cut it, so consider investing in a pair of wraparound sunglasses designed for outdoor activity. This way they won’t be sliding off your face or jumping up and down when you run.
Slow it down
As I mentioned earlier, running in the heat and humidity means an easy pace run may feel that much harder. Your body is working harder to keep your body cool.
Don’t be tempted to go all out from the beginning. Start slow, maintain a steady pace, the end slow. Your body will thank you for it!
Run early or late in the day
Schedule your runs early in the morning to avoid the midday and afternoon heat. If you’re not a big fan of morning runs, consider doing them in the evening when it is a bit cooler.
Try to avoid running between 12-4pm as this is when the sun is at its strongest. The heat and humidity will be high making for an uncomfortable and sweaty run.
Running during the summer months means increased sweating, so you need to be replacing all the sweat lost on your runs.
If you are running for more than 75 minutes, consider taking a hand-held water bottle or hydration pack with you on your run. If you don’t like carrying water with you, plan your route along some accessible water stops.
As a rule of thumb, you want to be consuming about 25 ounces (roughly 730ml) of fluid per hour that you’re running. To make this easier, use a water bottle that shows measurements on the side so you know exactly how much you’re drinking.
But be careful as drinking too much water can lead to overhydration, which dilutes your electrolytes. To combat this, drink an electrolyte sports drink in addition to water to balance out your body’s needs as you run.
Head for the trails
If you regularly run in urban areas, then now might be the time to hit the trails.
When the temperatures soar, asphalt and concrete absorb heat and radiate it back into your face.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, cities of a million or more people can be 1 to 3 degrees warmer on average than rural areas, and as much as 12 degrees warming in the evening.
Trail running offers shade from trees and it also forces you to slow down. You may also come across a lake or river on your run which you can use to cool off.
What other tips do you have for running in the heat and humidity? Comment below