10 tips for running in hot weather

On Sunday, I embarked on a bit of a mega run. It was nothing like the distance I did last year in the Gower ultra, but it was the furthest I’d run in a long time. Seventeen and a half miles to be precise. And it was hot. So before I went, I did a bit of research to find out the best way to tackle distance running in the heat. Here are my top tips.

Are you a runner who is unsure about how to cope with hot weather running? These ten tips will help you to prepare to run in the heat. Running in hot weather doesn't have to be a chore but preparation and hydration are key.

1. Do it

This is the big one for me. If I hadn’t made an arrangement to run, I wouldn’t have gone when I realised how hot it was. But I was really glad I did because it has given me so much confidence in my running. If I can do 17.5 miles on the hottest day of the year, I no longer have any excuse for not getting out for a run. And if you prepare properly, it’s not so bad. There’s even an advantage to running in the heat – I didn’t ache afterwards. I’m assuming this is due to the muscles being so warm.

2. Hydrate

This is probably the most important thing. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to hydrate en route, you’ll need to carry water with you. We are incredibly lucky to live in an area that has an abundance of natural spring water. This meant that we didn’t need to carry water as we planned our route to take in the springs. But it also meant that we could only drink when we passed a spring. Sipping water all around the run would definitely have been better.

3. Dress for the weather – and the distance you’re running

It goes without saying that you’ll need to wear appropriate clothing for running in heat. I went for a light t-shirt that covered my shoulders so they didn’t burn, along with shorts. What I didn’t plan properly for was the distance. I definitely could have chosen better clothing to avoid chafing.

4. Aim for the coolest part of the day

The coolest parts of the day are likely to be the morning and evening. If you can time most of your runs for these hours, I’d advise doing it. Whilst I recovered well from my run, I wouldn’t want to be running at the hottest part of every day if I could avoid it. I don’t think you can really hydrate enough in that heat to repeat the experience every day.

5. Get wet

Before I set out, I drenched my head and face with water. I did the same at all the springs we came to. And it definitely kept me cool at least for a few minutes at a time. Which was a relieving break from the heat.

Are you a runner who is unsure about how to cope with hot weather running? These ten tips will help you to prepare to run in the heat. Running in hot weather doesn't have to be a chore but preparation and hydration are key.

6. Consider running in the shade

We planned our route to make sure we were in the shade as much as possible. And more importantly, we were away from the roads. Whilst off-road, hill running might seem like the difficult option – in hot weather it really isn’t. There’s more shade, more variation in the muscles you use and less stress on the joints.

7. Remember the suncream

This one’s self-explanatory. I don’t really wear suncream. We were in the shade a lot and I don’t burn easily, so I didn’t wear it. But if there’s any chance you’ll burn, you need to be covered in it. After all, there’s no stopping to top up half way round unless you carry it with you.

8. Take it slowly

This is another joy of running in the heat. There’s no pressure to beat a particular time. You have to remember that just by running, you’re doing 100% better than the people sat at home complaining about the heat. And pushing it in the heat could be damaging as well as demoralising. Let’s face it, you’re never going to get your best half-marathon time on a day when you’d rather be in the paddling pool with a cold beer.

9. Fuel up

What you eat is almost as important as what you drink when you’re running long distances in the heat. Most people suggest carbs the night before and some sort of energy gels or sweets for during the run. As for me? I intended to prepare the night before with lots of water and a big bowl of pasta. What actually happened was that I got half way down my third pint of cider before I remembered I was supposed to be running in the morning. So then I carbed up on pizza. It was better than nothing, but I suspect I would have flagged less on the last mile if I’d had the pasta and water.

10. Celebrate your achievement

Lastly, don’t forget to take the time to reflect on the achievement of a long run in the blazing heat. You didn’t want to go out, but you did. It’s a tough run, but you did it. Take confidence from the fact that you’re more awesome than you realised.

Are you a runner who is unsure about how to cope with hot weather running? These ten tips will help you to prepare to run in the heat. Running in hot weather doesn't have to be a chore but preparation and hydration are key.

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12 Comments

  1. June 21, 2017 / 11:53 am

    These are great tips for running in the heat. I have to admit that I’ve given up a little on the running at the moment and the heat has put me off trying again. I will definitely take your advice on board though if I can motivate myself to get back into it again! x

    • monsterid July 10, 2017 / 11:14 pm

      Thank you Louise, I hope you had a good run if you decided to go.
      Nat.x

  2. June 21, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    Superb! I’ve just shared via my Twitter account. Sarah 🙂

  3. June 21, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    Well done to you. There’s some good tips there. I am also planning on writing a running in heat post with tips I have picked up – glad to see some new ones on here. I will to this post when I get around to writing it all up.
    pinkoddy recently posted…After My First Half MarathonMy Profile

    • monsterid July 10, 2017 / 11:13 pm

      Thank you Joy, I hope your running is going well.
      Nat.x

  4. June 26, 2017 / 4:01 am

    Hi Nat, congratulations on your run Nat! Bet you feel good! Those are wise words indeed! We are having a bit of a heatwave at the moment & I considered not getting up for a run. But here I am dressed and ready to go and it’s not even 6am. It’s been so hot it’s been hard to stay hydrated, but I think I managed to top up water levels yesterday. It is well worth getting up & out early to avoid the heat and as for times? I agree they don’t matter, what does is getting out there…. She says looking out into the dull early morning secretly hoping the dogs have eaten her shoes!

    xx
    Debbie recently posted…Missed SunriseMy Profile

    • monsterid July 10, 2017 / 11:10 pm

      Haha I hope you had a good run in the end!
      Nat.x

  5. June 28, 2017 / 4:46 pm

    Well done on your run! I think my favourite time to run is when it’s warm, but it’s drizzling slightly. Its so refreshing and makes me go further. I just need to get motivated again x

    • monsterid July 10, 2017 / 11:01 pm

      Thank you, I like running in the drizzle too!
      Nat.x

  6. June 29, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    That’s a fantastic achievement. One of my friends did a 10k this past weekend, and when I saw her yesterday she was saying she didn’t think she could have done it during the heatwave. Well done you!

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