How to Run in the Heat

When the first heat advisories of the summer start being released, it can be hard, and even dangerous, to maintain an active lifestyle. Peering out the window at the baking grass from the comfort of your air conditioned home doesn’t exactly make you want to go outside and run around the block, but deep down, you know that all of those sugary, frozen treats you’ve been enjoying won’t stay off your hips forever. Fortunately, there are ways to exercise around the heat, without sweating yourself to the brink of dehydration. It is possible to cool off with a sweet, indulgent daiquiri by the pool and look great while doing so!

  • Run in the morning or evening. The best times to run on hot, humid days are between sunrise and 8 a.m. and between 8 p.m. and sunset. If you have access to a safe, well lit, outdoor track, you can run after sunset when the heat really starts to drop. (Don’t forget the insect repellent.)
  • Run in shaded areas, if possible.
  • Stay hydrated! Start drinking water at least half an hour before your run and bring cool water with you. Cold water can be shocking to a hot body, but cool water (as cool as it comes out of the tap) will help cool you down while keeping you hydrated.
  • Run in light coloured, loose fitting, well ventilated clothing.
  • Wear a hat to keep the hot sun off of your head. You can also wet the hat prior to running on a really hot day.
  • Don’t forget to wear sun block. If you are a heavy sweater and would sweat all of your sun block off in the first few minutes of your run, you might want to wear light pants and long sleeves to keep the heat and damaging rays of the sun off your skin.
  • Don’t run on a full or empty stomach. A full stomach could lead to stomach cramping and vomiting and an empty stomach could lead to fainting.
  • Warm up and cool down properly before and after your work out. This becomes even more important when running in the heat.
  • Don’t push yourself. Run slower or for a shorter distance if you need to. On hot, humid, smoggy days your cardiovascular system will be less efficient, making your body unable to work as hard as usual.
  • Listen to your body. It will tell you how much is too much. Stop if you get dizzy, nauseous or stop sweating.
  • Know when not to go. When the humidex pushes 40˚C and smog advisories are rampant, just stay home. The dangers to your body at this point will outweigh the benefits of sticking to your running regimen. Lost kilometres can be made up for on a cooler day.

and my favourite tip …

  • If you see a lawn sprinkler, run through it.