6 Top Tips for Running in the Heat
Written By: SportsShoes
Ultra runner Jon Shield shares his 6 top tips for running in the heat.
Numerous articles highlight the benefits of heat training - they aren't wrong, running in hot conditions means you have to adapt your training. However, it is crucial to approach heat training gradually and with strict control to mitigate the potential risks associated with it. Common dangers include heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke that can be fatal, sun burn and long term skin damage that can cause cancer, and dehydration, that in turn can cause kidney damage and conditions such as hyponatraemia.
Here are Jon's 6 tops tips for running in the heat:
- Stay Hydrated
- Pick the Right Time of Day to Train
- Choose Appropriate Headwear
- Wear Light and Breathable Apparel
- Apply Sun Cream for SPF Protection
- Repeat, Adapt, Improve
1. Stay Hydrated
This is perhaps the most vital tip. If you’re feeling thirsty you’re already under hydrated. Ensure you drink little and often; before, during and after training. Even being slightly dehydrated can have a massive detrimental affect on performance and potentially cause heat related health issues. Consider the need for greater amounts of electrolytes to offset increased sweat rates. This can be in the form of bars, gels, or powder mixed into your water.
Even if you don’t think you’ll require water, carrying a soft flask and a filter is an easy back up plan.
2. Pick the Right Time of Day to Train
Consider the time of day you run. Generally, earlier in the morning or later in the evening will allow you to push harder and be safer. If this isn’t possible, consider doing your lighter sessions when it’s hotter and saving harder efforts for cooler parts for the day.
3. Choose Appropriate Headwear
A good bucket hat or sun cap is the perfect accessory on a blazing hot day when the sun is beating down. They protect your head from harmful UV rays. A good hat will have some mesh vents to help dissipate the heat from your head too.
4. Wear Light and Breathable Apparel
Consider what you wear. Using lightweight breathable clothing helps keep you cooler by providing better air circulation, promoting sweat evaporation and helping to regulate your body's temperature.
5. Apply Sun Cream for SPF Protection
A good sun cream with factor 30 SPF or above will ensure you minimise the risk of sun damage to your skin. You can get sun cream specifically for active people so when sweating it doesn’t run in your eyes or come off too easily with the sweat generated from exercising. It also allows less applications throughout the day generally.
6. Repeat, Adapt, Improve
The more times you exercise in the heat the more the body adapts to cope with it. Typically full heat adaptation takes between 7-10 days but improvements can be seen far sooner. Conversely, the body also loses this adaptation quickly too when not exerting in the heat.