How to Transition Safely From Running in Cold to Hot Weather

karen janos
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This time of year many runners living in cold-weather climates train for races in sunny Florida, or take a vacation to the islands. I live in New York, so I think that sounds fabulous, and love to get away to a more tropical climate at some point during the winter. If you are making the trip to warmer weather either for a race or merely for vacation, be aware that the sudden increase in temperature can cause you to overheat easily. You should take steps to ensure that your body does not overheat dangerously, as a dramatic increase in body temperature can be possibly life-threatening. Use these eight tips to ensure that you run safely in the warmer climate.

Slow down: You read that right. The best thing you can do when you are running in much warmer weather than usual is to run at a slower pace. If the temperature is over 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you should think about slowing down anyway—but especially if you've been running in, say, 30-degree weather. Your body isn't used to the hotter temps and, when the climate change is sudden, you can definitely feel the heat easier and faster when you run. The exact amount you should slow down will depend on your body and how large the temperature difference.

More: How to Acclimate to the Heat

Drink more water: Make sure to drink more water before, during and after your run. The colder the water, the better. If the temperature change is drastic, a sports drink with electrolyte replenishment is a good idea as well. Since the temperature is warmer, your body will sweat more and you need to replace both the fluids and electrolytes you have lost. Try to drink at least eight ounces of fluids 30 minutes before your run, and drink a good two ounces or so every 15 to 20 minutes during the run.  Obviously listen to your body and up that amount if you know you're prone to dehydration.

More: Consume Electrolytes and Calories Separately

Pour water over your head: During your run, it's a good practice to cool yourself off by pouring water over your head and even your shoulders and arms. Just like with drinking water, the colder the water, the better. The water helps your body to cool off and regulate your temperature in the heat. You should consider an ice bath after your run to help control your body temperature as well.

More: The Truth About Hydration in the Heat