How to Run in the Heat Without Dying

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | running tips

Jul 01

It is July 1. Summer is officially here. And the heat is officially on! The great thing about running is that you can do it year-round, but you have to know how to handle the heat in order to run safely!

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Running in the heat can be a nightmare, but you can get through it - with these tips! Tips for Surviving Running in the Heat

I think the past month I’ve been whining a lot about the summer weather. Sorry, but it’s really tough to run in the heat! You’re sweatier, thirstier, breathing heavier, and running slower than you’d like. And don’t even think about a PR. What’s not to love, right?

But you CAN get through it, and during the process of training in the heat, you’ll become a stronger runner. The beauty of running is that there is no off-season! If you stay consistent with your running, even when the weather isn’t the best, your endurance and strength as a runner will continue to improve!

So here are some tips on how to run in the heat and make this time of year a little less painful. No point complaining…let’s deal with it together!

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase.  

Hydrate and Stay Hydrated!

It goes without saying that you must drink plenty of water before, during, and after your summertime run!   With elevated temperatures, you are sweating more, and you’re rapidly losing and fluids and electrolytes that need to be replaced.  When it’s humid, you feel even worse!

Make sure you have the proper intake of water and electrolytes.  Of course your needs varies depending on what works for you and how oppressive the weather is on a particular day!  Here’s a handy rule of thumb:

  • Pre-run:  Drink 16 ounces of cool water 1-2 hours before exercise, and again about 15 minutes before exercise
  • During your run: Drink 5 ounces of water every 5 minutes or so – I normally take a sip every 1-1.5 miles, and have approximately 1 liter of water per hour of exercise
  • After your run:  Drink 16 ounces of water or sports drink
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I’ve never used Nuun or similar products, but I do take 2-3 Clif Shot Bloks every 3-4 miles to provide a bit of sodium during my runs that are 6 miles and longer.  I don’t really drink Gatorade, so you definitely have to find what works best for your body.

Instead of hoping you’ll find a water fountain on a hot run, consider carrying your own portable hydration. I use the Nathan Insulated QuickShot Plus Flask. It is a smaller sized water bottle, but I love it because it’s light, easy to carry, (see it in the photo above!) and is usually sufficient for me even on runs up to 8-10 miles.

If holding a bottle in your hand isn’t your thing, you could also look into wearing a hydration belt (which carries a few bottles for water) or a Camelbak Hydration Pack (that you wear like a backpack). Check out my recommendations for 5 affordable hydration products for more ideas!



Wear Light, Wicking Clothing

What you’re wearing when you run in the summer heat really matters. I’m sure there are lots of people running outside shirtless or in their sports bras this time of year, but for me, I’m happy with a nice tank top or short-sleeved shirt and shorts made out of technical fabric.

It always surprises me when I see people running and working out while wearing cotton, but it’s especially egregious in the summer! Cotton will soak in all of your sweat and hold it – weighing you down and causing uncomfortable chafing. It could also cause you to overheat which could potentially be dangerous! So please, please, do NOT wear cotton tops when running in the heat!

So where to find the good stuff? I usually take advantage of races to accumulate technical T-shirts since they’re usually included with registration, but you can find really nice fitness attire at Target from their Champion C9 line at a very affordable price. Don’t forget to check out places like Old Navy, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx and save a few dollars!

run for clean air 5K outfit

Typical summertime running outfit, minus the race bib!

Start Your Run Earlier or Later in the Day

I work super early during the week, so the only time I can run in the mornings is on the weekend. This works out great for me because there is still a hint of coolness in the air, plus there aren’t nearly as many people up and out yet. While it may be tough to get out of bed so early, your runs will be much more comfortable PLUS you’ll have the rest of the day to do other things and enjoy yourself!

If your schedule only allows you to run after sunset, that’s another great way to beat the heat, though one night I ran after 8 pm and it was still around 90 degrees! Just be sure that you’re wearing high visibility gear and don’t run alone if you’re going on a poorly lit route. Turn off/down your music and stay alert!

This was during my super hot run!

This was during my super hot evening run!

Protect Your Skin!

You. MUST. Wear. Sunscreen!! You may be surprised to hear this from me, an African-American, but we get tanned too! I always spray on sunscreen about 15-30 minutes before I head out into the sun. There have been studies showing that runners have a higher chance of developing skin cancer because of their increased exposure to the sun, so it’s really important to keep your skin protected with at least some SPF 30 sunscreen.  Running early in the morning or late in the day is also a great way to protect your skin from the sun’s most harmful rays!  It’s also a good idea to wear a hat or visor when you run. I just purchased a new visor that I have to test out.

What brand of sunscreen do you use and recommend? I’m all for suggestions for products that are environmentally friendly, non-sticky and odorless!

If You Must, There Is the Treadmill…

Everyone hates the treadmill, better known as the “dreadmill”, right? I don’t think it’s all bad! Treadmills are appreciated the most when we’re facing the most extreme weather, such as icy cold winters and steaming hot summers. If you have access to a treadmill at home or in your gym and it’s the only way you’re going to get a run in this summer, use it!

Treadmills are great for interval training and focused speed work. And I can’t deny that I enjoy watching TV when I run sometimes…Judge Judy anyone?  Treadmills definitely come in handy when you want to avoid the awful weather but still get in a good run!

Workouts for the Week:

Wednesday 6/24: A very active day! I had cardio kickboxing class, our last until September! I made sure to make the most of it! I also had another Ben Franklin Bridge Run with City Fit Girls. We ran for 3 miles. In my last post, I show you how you can join a great running group too, hint hint! In order to get to our meeting spot I had to bike it there, so I covered between 4 and 5 miles.

Thursday 6/25: Softball game! Finally, we got a win and it was a good win! I had a fun time and got to show off my speedwork, lol! We were supposed to have our first kickball game tonight but we got rained out.

Friday 6/26: No workouts.

Saturday 6/27: I went for a 9-mile run, 8.5 of them with my running buddy Mark. The TriRock triathlon was happening along our route, so that was really exciting to watch – and me without my phone to take pictures! I felt pretty good on the run, and I actually wore a pair of my old Brooks Ghost 5’s because my Adidas are officially in retirement, finally!

Sunday 6/28: Rest day.

Monday 6/29: I went for a 3 mile run in my brand new sneaks, the ASICS Women’s Gel-Cumulus 17! I am not an Asics girl, but I really liked these when I tried them on at Road Runner Sports. They’re a bit heavier than my Adidas, but I really like them so far.  After my run, I did a 30 minute PowerUP workout on Nike Training Club App. It was really challenging! My core strength is officially nonexistent…I’ll be hurting for a few days.

Tuesday 6/30: I went to Boot Camp Class.  There were only 2 of us who showed up, but we did plenty of squats, lunges, mountain climbers, burpees, and worked our biceps and shoulders.

Loving these!!!! Asics Gel-Cumulus 17!

Loving these!!!! Asics Gel-Cumulus 17!

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase.  

How do you adapt to running in the heat? What tips can you share?

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