Running in the hot weather requires preparation and proper gear that will keep you cool and heat-related illnesses at bay, even as the temperature rises. Here are five must-follow gear tips for running in hot weather.
More: Basic Gear for a Beginning Runner
1. Wear Wicking Fabrics
Your running clothes, socks included, should be made of a wicking technical fiber. Technical fabrics pull moisture away from your body, keeping you cooler. Avoid clothes that are 100 percent cotton. Cotton fabrics absorbs sweat, which weighs down the clothing and can cause chafing.
If you're running in hot weather, chose lightweight, loose-fitting clothing for your outing. Flowing, long-sleeve shirts can keep you cooler than short-sleeve tops or tanks because they shield more skin from the sun.
When it comes to running shorts, choose longer, loose-fitting styles, which protect more of your legs from the sun and also help keep you cooler by offering more ventilation.
Tops and bottoms should be light in color because light colors reflect the sun. Dark colors absorb the sun's heat and can cause you to overheat much faster than whites or pastels.
More: 10 Tips to Run Better and Recover Faster
3. Keep Cool with a Broad-Billed Running Hat
Wear a hat with a significant brim to keep the sun off your face. Some running hats also offer a "sun skirt" that offers additional protection for your ears and neck. Choose a hat that's made out of a technical fabric to help wick the sweat away from your head. Avoid cotton baseball hats, which can trap heat and cause your body temperature to rise.
4. Don't Forget Sunglasses
Wear a pair of lightweight sunglasses designed for sports activities. These models typically offer better coverage than casual-style sunglasses. The American Optometric Association recommends sunglass lenses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays for the best eye protection.
More: 6 Tips to Run Through the Heat
5. Water Bottles, Hydration Packs and Fuel Belts
Running in hot weather will cause your body to sweat and lose both water and electrolytes in the process. If you don't replace them when you are running, you could become dehydrated and are at an increased risk of a heat-related illness. You should aim to drink between 4 and 8 ounces of water and/or sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes. If water fountains are not plentiful along your running route, carry a water bottle, hydration pack or fuel belt. There are several options available, depending on how much water you need and where on your body you want to carry it.
Hand-held water bottles vary between 10 and 20 ounces and typically come with a hand strap that makes it easier and more comfortable to carry. Hydration packs that are worn over the shoulders like a backpack, can carry up to 70 ounces of fluid and are suitable for longer runs. The third option is a fuel belt that holds multiple smaller flasks or bottles. These are worn around the waist and are designed to distribute the weight evenly and reduce bouncing of the belt. The fuel belt is ideal for runners who want to carry both and sports drinks.
Test out these hot weather running tips at your next race.