Hot, hot heat: tips for hot-weather running

Elite runners train in high-altitude environments, knowing that running in oxygen-deprived environments will make running everywhere else a bit easier. That’s kind of how I’m choosing to view my last few training runs in Florida, where I’ve spent the past several days on a mini-vacation.

I’d intended to get in a few more hard training runs before the ZOOMA Annapolis 10K this weekend—a speed workout here, a long tempo run there. As it turned out, the heat and humidity made the runs hard, but in more of an I-hope-I-don’t-have-heat-exhaustion kind of way. In their wake, I offer the following list of hot-weather running resources and tips from places like Runner’s World, Running Times and Olympian and running coach Jeff Galloway. An important bottom line: If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous, STOP.

A few of the best, if most obvious, tips:

  1. First, I was thrilled a few weeks ago to find a new hot-weather coping mechanism in the New York Times that justifies Slurpie consumption. A New Zealand endurance athlete and exercise researcher says people who drank a slushie before exercising in the heat lasted for longer than their non-slushie-consuming peers. Low-calorie Gatorade and ice in a blender, anyone?
  2. Go easy at first to let your body acclimate to the heat. Galloway says most runners begin to slow down at 55 degrees and start suffering at 65 degrees—cut yourself a break accordingly. He suggests slowing down a full two minutes per mile slower than you could have run that distance that day.
  3. Drink Up. The rule of thumb is to aim for 16 to 32 ounces of fluid per hour of exercise, or three to six ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. Sports drinks can help replenish sodium stores.
  4. Run early or late, when it’s coolest.
  5. Do speedwork on the treadmill.
  6. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting technical gear.
  7. Cool down after. Have access to a pool? Use it! Don’t have access to a pool? At least that post-long-run ice bath will be a bit more tolerable.

Other resources:

Seasonal Running, Jeff Galloway (this is a great list offering suggestions for what to wear in certain temperatures, how to adjust your goal race pace for certain temperatures and other helpful tips)

Beat the Heat, Runner’s World

Heat Tested: A Miami Running Club’s Tips, Runner’s World

Hydration and Heat Management, Running Times

What’s your best tip for beating the heat while running? Let me know by posting a comment below.


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6 responses to “Hot, hot heat: tips for hot-weather running

  1. Timely! I ran yesterday morning. Should have gone out even earlier. It was hot and I was sllllllllooooowwww. As I start adding on the miles for MCM training. Gotta love our swampy summers.

  2. stu

    Amy, how much water should you ingest BEFORE starting your run?

    Stu A.

    • Great question. My unscientific answer: I try to drink at least a full glass—basically, as much as my stomach feels comfortable with. I know the main thing is to make sure you’re rehydrating *during* long runs, and rehydrating after runs of any length.

  3. Joe

    Good tips. I just did the same on my blog.
    I’m having to get up at 5:30 to beat the Texas heat.

  4. This isn’t really a beat the heat, but I learned the hard way when I lived in Maryland: carry bug spray. Bugs think you are delicious when you’re sweaty, especially around dusk.

  5. oh i was totally yearning for a pool to jump into after my run this morning! (i’m too lazy to trek over to the neighborhood pool though). when i was younger i used to jump straight into my parents pool after a run – fully clothed. it’s the best!

    thank you for this post – makes me feel better about my slogginess in mid-70s with 95% humidity 🙂

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