11 Tips to Survive Running in the Heat

Because of the heat and humidity, most people wouldn't pick summer as their favorite season for outdoor exercise. Spring or fall normally win that honor. But summer does have a lot going for it. More daylight before and after work means more time to get outside. What's more, with all the swimming, lawn mowing, gardening, hiking and vacations, it's easier to be more active in the summer, so your fitness level is higher.

Here's everything you need to know to help you optimize your hot-weather workouts.

The 25 Golden Rules of Running

Make Adjustments

Don't do long or higher-intensity workouts during the heat of the day. If you must run at midday, pick routes with shade.

As a general rule, start your workout slower than you usually do. If you're feeling good halfway through, it's OK to speed up a little bit.

More: 6 Tips for Summer Running

Wear as Little as Possible

Wear apparel that's light in color, lightweight, and has vents or mesh. Microfiber polyesters and cotton blends are good fabric choices. Also, be sure to wear a hat, shades, and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

More: Active Gear Scout: Sunscreen for Athletes

Watch Your Alcohol and Meds

Alcohol, antihistamines and antidepressants can all have a dehydrating effect.

Using them just before a run can make you have to pee, compounding your risk of dehydration.

More: Running on Empty Bottles

Drink Early and Often

Top off your fluid stores with 16 ounces of sports drink an hour before you head out. Then toss down 5 to 8 ounces of sports drink about every 20 minutes while working out.

Sports drinks beat water because they contain electrolytes, which increase your water-absorption rate, replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat, and taste good, making it easy to drink more.

9 Golden Rules of Hydration

Be Patient

Give yourself 8 to 14 days to acclimatize to hot weather, gradually increasing the length and intensity of your training.

In that time, your body will learn to decrease your heart rate, decrease your core body temperature, and increase your sweat rate.

More: Summer Runs: How To Acclimate to the Heat

Seek Grass and Shade

It's always hotter in cities than in surrounding areas because asphalt and concrete retain heat. If you must run in an urban or even a suburban area, look for shade—any park will do—and try to go in the early morning or late evening.

More: 9 Tips for Your Night Runs

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