In this episode, I share 10 tips that every runner should know when it comes to running in the heat. I’ll share why running in the heat is difficult and what you can do to minimize the impact that warm temperatures has on your training. I’ll also cover early warning signs of heat illness like heat stroke and exhaustion. Plus, at the end of the show, you’ll hear from Scott Jenkins, one-half of the Jenko brothers, to get a post-run report of their trip across Iceland to raise money for cancer research. This is a follow up to RunBuzz Episode 54 when we first spoke with Scott about his journey to run across Iceland.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness
The following signs and symptoms and first aid come from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. You can visit their page for more information on heat-related illness here.
What You Should Do:
What You Should Do:
Why Do Runners Slow Down in the Heat
Before we get into the ten tips for running in the heat, I think it is also important to know why we slow down on hot days.
It isn’t just the heat or our mindset, there actually is a physiological reason why we slow down.
When it gets hot out, we sweat. Our bodies cool down through sweating. Actually, it is the evaporation of our sweat that cools our body as heat is transferred during the evaporation process.
When our body heats up, some of the blood that normally goes to our muscles and organs gets diverted to our skin. Our blood contains fluids, like plasma and water that our skin cells need to sweat. As a result, our bodies fatigue faster since not as much is made available to our muscles. This is why it is difficult to run on warmer days.
I go into this in more detail in the episode and even how this ties into our fueling and how this redirection of our blood impacts our body's ability to utilize fuel.
While this is important for runners to understand, I’ll save it for the podcast.
Staying hydrated is the best defense for a hot day!
Now let’s get on to our 10 tips…
10 Tips Every Runner Should Know About Running in the Heat
- 1Run early or during the coolest part of the day. Keep in mind that the coolest part of the day may not always be the morning and take humidity into account. Sometimes, humidity is higher in the morning.
- 2Wear light, moisture-wicking clothing. Moisture-wicking clothing pulls moisture away from the skin and light-colored clothing reflects more of the sun’s heat. Do not wear cotton shirts!
- 3Wear hats that have an open-top (visor style). Baseball caps trap in heat.
- 4Carry a small sponge to keep you cool. Use a water stop to replenish the water. Use a natural sponge, not a dish sponge.
- 5Take a cold towel with you and keep in a cooler with ice and water for after the run. It is amazing!
- 6Run in shaded or heavily shaded areas. It can be five, ten or fifteen degrees cooler in the shade.
- 7Stash water along the route if needed.
- 8Take your run indoors. If the heat is too much or you do not feel safe to run outside, take your run inside.
- 9If starting a new running program, do it when the weather is cooler, not in the heat of summer.
- 10SLOW Down! I go into a lot of detail with this one in the podcast, but slowing down in OK. You will get the same level workout by going slow in high heat, as you will in cooler temperatures. Target races that you want to PR during times when the weather is not hot. Be sure to listen to my rant on why your pace is NOT IMPORTANT on warm days.
Scott Jenkins Iceland Update
They did it! They ran 205 miles across Iceland. Be sure to listen to how their journey across Iceland went.
To support the Jenko brothers and their mission to fight cancer by raising money for cancer research, check out the Jenko brothers on Facebook.
Be sure to listen to episode 54, where I feature Scott and their adventure to run across Iceland
Have a great week!
Additional Running Resources
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