RB58: 10 Tips Every Runner Should Know About Running In The Heat

RB58: 10 Tips Every Runner Should Know About Running In The Heat


Show Notes:

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.

Heat Exhaustion


  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

What You Should Do:

  • Move person to a cooler location
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible
  • Sip water
  • If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately

Heat Stroke


  • High body temperature (above 103 F)
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

What You Should Do:

  • Call 911 immediately – This is a medical emergency.
  • Move the person to a cooler environment
  • Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath
  • Do not give fluids

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

  1. 1
    Run 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.
  2. 2
    Wear 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!
  3. 3
    Wear hats that have an open-top (visor style). Baseball caps trap in heat.
  4. 4
    Carry a small sponge to keep you cool. Use a water stop to replenish the water. Use a natural sponge, not a dish sponge.
  5. 5
     Take a cold towel with you and keep in a cooler with ice and water for after the run. It is amazing!
  6. 6
    Run in shaded or heavily shaded areas.  It can be five, ten or fifteen degrees cooler in the shade.
  7. 7
    Stash water along the route if needed.
  8. 8
    Take your run indoors.  If the heat is too much or you do not feel safe to run outside, take your run inside.
  9. 9
    If starting a new running program, do it when the weather is cooler, not in the heat of summer.
  10. 10
    SLOW 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!

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About the Author Steve Carmichael

Steve is a RRCA / USA Track and Field Certified Running Coach who has helped thousands of runners since 2010. He coaches online as well as locally in the Columbus, Ohio area. He is host of RunBuzz Running a top rated running podcast with 150+ episodes available for free on all major podcast apps. Steve resides in Lewis Center, Ohio with his wife, kids, and dog.

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