I got back from my run yesterday and dramatically flopped onto the floor of my dorm room, drenched in sweat (sorry, roommate). While I chugged a bottle of water, I checked the weather app on my phone, convinced that it had to be at least 85 degrees outside.
…okay, it was 65.
When the temperatures starts to pick up, I wonder –every year without fail– how I’ll survive an entire summer of blazing hot runs. Thankfully, my body ends up adjusting after a while, and while running in the heat can be tough, it’s doable as long as I plan my runs a little bit strategically.
I’m far from a running expert, but here’s what I’ve learned from my past few years of running during Florida and North Carolina summers:
1. Give yourself time to get used to the temperature change, and adjust your expectations so you’re not frustrated when running feels suddenly feels harder than usual.
A reader commented on this post and said, “Please do a post about running in the heat. I ran today in almost 70 degree weather and what would usually take me 25 minutes took me 30 minutes. I was very disappointed in my run and how often I had to walk because I was so hot.”
I can completely sympathize! I always try to remind myself what my cross country coaches used to tell me– it takes about two weeks for our bodies to adjust to running in a new temperature. While we were getting used to the heat, we’d keep our workouts at a low intensity and not increase our mileage, and that’s what I still try to do now. Running slower than usual or even taking a walking break may be completely necessary.
2. Wear the lightest layer of clothes possible.
I love thin, loose, flowy running tank tops and I avoid buying tight tops or tops with built-in sports bras (because then you just end up sweating through TWO sports bras- why?). I also don’t run in cotton t-shirts, because those bad boys feel like a heat stroke waiting to happen.
It usually works best for me to get up and go early in the morning, so I try to focus on getting in bed early enough during the spring and summer time that I can get up early to beat the heat.
4. Find a shady running path (and by shady, I don’t mean the kind of path where you’ll get mugged.)
During the winter, I love running out near flat, open streets where I can feel the sun, but I try to stick to trails, greenways, and streets with lots of trees overhead for my summer runs. It makes a huge difference!
5. Focus on hydration before, sometimes during, and after your run.
If I know I’ll be running more than a few miles on an especially hot day, I’ll plan to run by somewhere like a grocery store where I can get a quick sip of water from the water fountain. I drink a full bottle when I get back, and I try to stay extra hydrated throughout the rest of the day, too. I carry my refillable water bottle around with me, and as soon as it’s empty, I fill it up again.
So, those are my very non-profound tips for surviving hot summer runs! While they’re pretty basic and common sense, I’ve found it to be really helpful to remind myself to a) cut myself some slack, b) start preparing for my early morning run the night before by getting in bed early enough, and c) drink tons of water all day long!
So tell me…
Do you prefer running in the heat of summer or during the winter?
The cold! I can bundle up and stay warm.
What’s your favorite thing to eat or drink after a really hot run?
I love having a smoothie or Greek yogurt for some protein.
Do you have any hot weather running tips to add?