Tips to Help Running in Warm Weather
As a regular runner I often hear about (and have unfortunately been witness to) heart attacks, fainting, hyperthermia and sunstroke from people of all ages. Sometimes we take our lives for granted and think nothing other than sticking our runners on and going for a run and not considering the weather. In the Health & Fitness section on the website I’ve written tips on running, running in cold weather and now I’m going to give you some tips on running in warm or humid weather. Yes, you’ve probably just looked out the window and thought…”what warm weather”, but with summer on its way you are best knowing the tips before hand. It doesn’t have to be 30 Degrees outside to get heatstroke but more about keeping your body temperature lower.
Here are my top tips to surviving the warm weather:
- Check the weather before you leave
The summer offers you more chances to get out for a run with both morning and evening runs much cooler and more comfortable. Of course, as with any season, the weather can be unpredictable and it makes sense to plan your training by checking the weather forecast first. Just as winter running requires the right approach, preparation and running clothes, so you should carefully consider the same aspects in summer and avoid long runs on scorching days, for example, especially if you are not used to it.
- Wear the right running gear
Light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself down naturally. Wicking is a property of some fabrics that draws water away from the skin. It’s a valuable feature of modern sportswear as it keeps sweat off your skin and minimises chafing. A good summer running outfit should consist of both a running top and running bottom made of wicking fabric.
- Apply Suncream
To protect our skin, use a water-resistant sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and offers broad-spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The benefits are multiple and are part of a safe approach to training. Just as you wouldn’t train on an injury, you shouldn’t neglect your skin either.
- Drink often and replace what you lose
It’s important that hydration occurs on an ongoing basis, not just when you exercise. Just as dehydration caused by too little water replacement in the body can be dangerous, so over-hydration has been found to make runners nauseous and disorientated because too much fluid intake dilutes the blood-salt. If you are overheating, splashing water on your head and body will cool you down quickly and have a lasting effect as the water evaporates from your skin.
To check that you are giving your body the water it needs, weigh yourself before you go on your training run. When you get back from your run, weigh yourself again and you should see the weight difference through water loss/sweat during your run. It is very important to replace the water you have lost through exercise – rule of thumb is 1 pint of water for every pound lost during exercise.
Remember, by the time you feel thirsty, you could have a two percent body-weight water loss, already putting you into the impairment zone.
For those more experienced runners, when it’s hot, you need to salt up. I recommend incorporating an electrolyte-balanced sports drink into your hydration plan. Experiment with different products to find the one that works best for you.
- Enjoy your running
The right mental attitude is a must for productive training. There’s little use running, no matter how fit and healthy your body is, if you’re not really enjoying it. Luckily, in summer, that mind-set is often easily achieved: let’s face it, it would have to be a hardened couch potato who wouldn’t want to run out into the sunshine, the welcoming cool breeze while you run through the streets, or the beautiful shade from the trees when running on trail.
You should be very familiar with the signs of heat problems so you recognise them in yourself or in a running partner. If you feel faint, dizzy, disoriented, have stopped sweating, or your skin is cool and clammy, slow down or stop running, and get some fluids. If symptoms continue, sit or lie down in the shade and seek help. No matter how well equipped we are, always be cautious in the heat and pay attention to your body. Proper training and knowing your body’s abilities and signals are key.
**Visit my running tips page for 5km & 10km Running Plans