Sunday, July 5, 2009

10 Beat the Heat Tips for Runners

Don't let the heat keep you from running. Try the following tips to keep you running strong during the hot summer months.

1. Run in the early morning. If you need to do a longer run and don't have enough time, do part of your run in the morning and finish it up in the early evening when it's cooler again. Not ideal, but better than just a short run or no run at all.
2. Find an alternate route that provides more shade or hit the trails which usually provide more protection from the sun.
3. In addition to hydrating well before your run, make sure you carry water or your favorite sports drink with you on the run by either wearing a hydration belt with one or more bottles, carrying a handheld bottle, or a hydration pack. If you don't like wearing a belt, pack or using a handheld bottle, be sure to place some water/sports drink along your route. Just be sure to go back and collect any empties.
4.
Splash it on! Fill one of the bottles on you hydration belt with water. Not to drink, but to pour on your head during your run. Regularly pouring a little water on your head/body during your run can help to increase the evaporation-cooling effect.
5. Don't wear cotton! Be sure to wear tops and bottoms made of lightweight technical fabrics designed to whisk away moisture keeping you cooler and dryer. A water-logged cotton T-shirt can actually slow down the evaporation-cooling process causing you to overheat.
6. Wear a visor or a hat with a bill. This will provide shade for your eyes/face as well as help to keep the sweat rolling off your head from getting in your eyes. Make sure to use a hat appropriate for the heat that's made of lightweight technical fabric that will promote evaporation.
7. American Running & Fitness Association recommends that you "acclimatize" yourself to the heat. To do this on your first run in the heat, you should cut your intensity by 65% to 75%. Then over the next 10 days, slowly build back to your previous level.
8. Refrain from being too competitive with your buddies on your regular runs. Save it for the weekend races.
9. Don't run alone. Having a buddy on a run is good because you can each look out for the other for any signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If you do have to run alone, be sure to let someone know exactly where you'll be running and approximately how long you'll be gone so, if something does happen and you don't return, they'll be able to search for and find your quickly.
10. Check out air quality index rating before running. If it's a code orange and you're sensitive to air pollution and/or have upper respiratory problems you may not want to run. If it's a code red, it's not suitable for anyone to run. Check the weather section of your local TV station's website. It will usually provide such information.

For even more tips on running in the heat, check out this great video clip from Howcast.

20 comments:

HEATHER said...

ohh I can relate to this post. I live in South Carolina and it's been in the 90's with 80-90% humidity for weeks now. It's HOOOT! I've found that I'm doing early morning runs, and also having to break them up, like you mentioned. It's not ideal, but like you said, it's better than NOT running!!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Heather! Know what you mean. We've actually had a little repreive from the humidity the past few days, but I know it will come back with a vengence soon enough!

Jeff Pickett said...

Another timely post. Ran a long run going for 16 miles. Delayed the start to 9 AM which was a big mistake for me. I usually start at 6 when its much cooler. By the time we emerged from the shade of our trail, the heat was more than my body could really handle as it teamed up with a little humidity. In the end I suffered dehydration/heat exhaustion/heat something. I stopped/walked/run and after 12 miles I decided it wasn't worth it to push much more. Needless to say my upcoming runs will incorporate even more water before running (OMG! more?) and running as early as I can allow my schedule. This is not only great info, the video is very informative as well.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Jeff! Glad it was helpful. I thought that video was well done, packed with info. I caught your video on The Stick. Good stuff!!! I love mine. It helped me get over that calf pull quicker. Hurts like hell, but it sure does work. Hope you've had an awesome 4th!

Melanie Tait (Mel Tries to Run) said...

Thanks for posting this! I live in the heat, work at night. So unless I get up super early, I have to run on a treadmill. If I run at about 8.30am though, it's still about 28-30 degrees. Will be taking your tips on board. Thank you!

Jo Lynn said...

You nailed it again! GREAT tips. When I read the title, a few thoughs went through my head and when I read the full post, all my ideas were listed. Read up people, and pay attention! Heat is nothing to mess with. ;)

Tanya said...

All great suggestions-as the days get warmer, my alarm clock goes off earlier. I'm currently running around 6 to 6:30. It's a fine line between getting out early enough to beat the heat and late enough have some daylight. And cotton is evil!!!

Gina Harris said...

You always have excellent posts! Since I always get extremely hot when I run, I am always careful to do what I can to beat the heat. I am also acclimating myself to hotter temps GRADUALLY. We don't get a lot of hot weather in Salem, Oregon, but it doesn't take much for me to overheat.

Thanks again for such an informational blog.

Keep on runnin'

Gina

ShoreTurtle said...

This is a great list. I've agree 100%. I learned some of the tips the hard way.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Melanie! Thanks for the feedback Mel! Sound like you are definitely committed. Kudos to you!!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Jo Lynn! Thanks! I agree, Heat is not to be fooled with. I suffered from heat exhaustion once. Had to ask and old man on a lawn mower to call my wife. Not sure what was worse they the heat exhaustion symptoms or the tongue lashing I got from the wife for running alone in the heat. :-)

RunnerDude said...

Hey Tanya! That sounds like a great T-shirt logo for runners..."Cotton is Evil!" LOL! Could have an animated evil litte cotton ball character. LOL!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Gina! Thanks for the feedback and support! The humidity here in NC is a big problem for me in addition to the heat. Feels like I'm swimming sometimes.

RunnerDude said...

Hey ShoreTurtle! Welcome to the blog! Same here man. I suffered heat exhaustion once and once was enough. Not fun at all. Hope you had a great 4th!

B.o.B. said...

All great tips! It's soooo hot here in the F L. Definitely going to be wearing a hat or visor from now until .... the end of time.

RunnerDude said...

Hey B.o.B.! Same here. I don't know how you Floridians do it! All though I guess it pays off in the winter when we're freezing out patooties off. LOL!

Spring Runner said...

One add on tip for the moisture wicking clothing. Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets on these items. It will impair the fabric's ability to wick off moisture by filling the holes with the softening agent, defeating the whole purpose of the shirt. I learned this the hard way.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Spring Runner! Great tip and reminder! I posted on that several months ago. Check it out at http://ncrunnerdude.blogspot.com/2009/03/dryer-sheets-are-no-no.html

onelittletrigirl said...

When I was a new runner, I learned super fast that cotton is not my running friend! Still, even having made the same mistake, I am amazed when I see people in cotton, esp at races.

Great advice as always :)

Candice said...

Thanks for this post and the tips. It helps just to be reminded that I am not the only person trying to run in the heat. I should just be grateful to live in a dry climate!