Wow guys, it’s hot out there. Running when it’s hot and humid feels like death for those first couple of weeks. But it gets better.
For those that live in humid areas, you know what a game changer humidity is. Humidity slows down the rate that sweat evaporates off you. That evaporation is actually when cooling takes place. AM presents cooler temperatures but the humidity can be thick. Middle of the day is warmer but drier. End of the day is hottest as the sun has beaten down all day. The evening can be a great option, but if you live in Savannah sometimes the heat index remains in the triple digits well into the night.
Succeeding, instead of just accepting?
Danielle at T-Rex Runner recently blogged that she interviewed Pam Reed, a runner who races hundreds of miles in temperatures of 130F and WINS. Reed advises going outside and being active 3 times every day for the first few weeks of heat. Going out in the early AM, early afternoon, and end of the day will help you effectively adjust to varying heat and humidity levels in a way that going outside every couple of days for a death-jog simply cannot.
I’ve accepted that I will run slower in June and July. My speeds typically pick up as I adjust, but are never the same as winter running. I’m excited to try a more aggressive acclimatization next year and see if I decrease my speed deficit. I’m also interested in acclimatizing to all times of the day — not just the drier, hotter afternoons.
Know that summer heat will make you stronger, as long as it doesn’t kill you. Stay safe out there. Here are some tips to help you stave off some of that summer heat in your next run.
5 Tips for Running When It’s Hot Hot Hot
1. Wear the correct clothes
Wear lightweight, light-colored, technical fabric that wicks the sweat away from your body so that it can cool. The lighter colors reflect more sunlight away, while darker colors absorb it. This may be basic for those who grew up in the heat, but others may have never really put much thought into their favorite black running t-shirt.
2. Try a hat or visor
Experiment and find out if you are more comfortable in a hat or visor to keep the sun off your face. A light-colored hat may help those with dark hair. I have black hair and it HEATS UP in the sun. My fair-haired friend accused my hair of burning him during a hug the other day. I should have told him I was a witch.
Wear sunscreen to protect your skin. …and try a sweat-proof kind, since we’re at it. I love any sunscreen that doesn’t drip into my eyes and make my cry in the middle of my run.
4. Dump some water on your head and drink some water
Consider pouring a little water on yourself. As it evaporates, it will cool your body. Also try drinking water. Which is more effective? Read here.
Drinking water that is cooler than you will cool you down as well as hydrate you. Stay hydrated during your run and remember that you’re losing electrolytes in your sweat and replenish those as well if you’re out there long.
5. Know your favorite time of day (or, most tolerated time of day)
If you’re not going to acclimatize to all parts of the day, pick your favorite and stick with it. That will make your runs more comfortable. My favorite is the hot, but dry.
Safety is always foremost. If it’s too hot for you, listen to your body. Cut a run short. Get yourself cool in whatever way you need. If the temperatures are dangerous, run indoors or swim instead (also being careful if it’s an outdoor pool).
Being a runner or racing in a hot climate is uncomfortable. There’s no way around that. I remind myself that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
So lean in, adjust, adapt. Stay safe. Enjoy.
- T-Rex Runner’s On Beating the Heat for Good. T-Rex Runner runs in SC, so she KNOWS.
- Competitor’s 5 Reasons Heat Affects Performance and Heat Acclimatization for Runners. As much as I dislike their paragraph-per-page website setup, there is some good information here.
- Runner’s World’s Should You Drink Water or Pour it on Your Head?