Your Guide to Racing in the Heat

Running in the Heat

Summer is coming, and while most people are planning beach house vacations and working on their base tans, runners are mentally preparing for those hotter and sweatier races.

Many runners pound the treadmill all winter long and don't start heading outdoors until late spring, once the mercury rises. Outdoor winter runners had months of nice cool running temps that have left them in no way prepared for the heat of summer races.

Running in the heat is a bit of a game changer. If you're not on top of things, it can become dangerous. So whether you're outside on a hot road, or out on remote trails, it's important to keep yourself safe, cool and happy.

Here's how:

Acclimate Over Time

As the weather climbs above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, comfort and running speed are affected. The change becomes more dramatic as the mercury rises into the 90s and 100s.

Your ?rst hot run of the summer may not be pleasant at all. It may feel like you're running through soup (or inside an oven, if you're in a dry climate). You'll sweat a lot more than you're used to, and if it's humid, the extra sweating won't seem to cool you off.

It can take two or more weeks for your body to acclimate to the heat of summer, so be patient and let your body adjust slowly.

If you've got a summer race coming up, make sure you do the majority of your training in a similar temperature and time of day as race day. Time of day is especially important. For example, morning runs tend to be more humid, and even night runs can feel quite hot.

Getting your body acclimated to the high temperatures of summer will help you forget how hot you are, and allow you to enjoy your runs.

Work With the Sun, Not Against It

If you're not training for a hot race, you might consider adjusting your run schedule to work with the sun. Running under the bright, hot sun can be much more draining than running under cloud cover, even if the air temperature is the same.

Whenever you can, run on a cloudy day. Take advantage of rain storms, as the rain water will keep you cool (and running in the rain can be strangely pleasant). Take advantage of local trails, and let the tall trees provide some shelter against the swelter.

If you live in the land of wide open sky, stick to night and morning runs. The sun is at its strongest between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., so try to work around its schedule for a more pleasant workout.

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About the Author

Trisha Reeves

Trisha Reeves is an ultra-marathoner with more than 10 years of running experience.
Trisha Reeves is an ultra-marathoner with more than 10 years of running experience.

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