Ten tips for running in hot weather

Summer running had me a blast! ☀️

As Canadians, we are used to the cold. Some might even call us “masters” of running in inclement temperatures and weather. But when it comes to the heat, we get three (maybe four) good months a year. And it’s easy to forget everything you learned last summer.

For new and seasoned runners alike, here are ten tips to beat the heat this summer while keeping your running safe and productive:

1. Stay hydrated 

This is not just a summer thing… You should stay hydrated year-round. But it’s imperative when you’re sweating more regularly than you usually would the rest of the year. 

Be sure to include electrolytes in your hydration strategy since you lose more than just water when you sweat. You should make an effort to have extra hydration the day before your long run. And plan a route with public fountains or a place to stash your bottles. 

A good rule of thumb when running (or working) in the heat is to drink 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes. It's more effective to drink small amounts more frequently, perfect for runners. 

2. Run where and when it is coolest 

If you live near a body of water, run there! You’ll get a nice breeze off the water, and you can even go for a post-run dip. Running on covered trails or grass is also a way to stay a few degrees cooler. Trail runners rejoice! 

Running in the early morning or at night is even better. If you only have time for a run mid-day, consider using a treadmill if the conditions are scorching. 

3. Protect your skin 

Whether this means wearing sunscreen or UVP clothing, protect yourself from the sun’s powerful rays.

Don’t overlook the top of your head! While our hair does offer some protection, adding a hat to your summer running attire can make a world of difference in avoiding sunburn and overheating. You can even wet it at a public fountain for an extra cool mid-run treat. 

4. Pay attention to signs of dehydration 

Stop if you’re feeling “off” before or during your run. Dehydration can sneak up on you, even if you thought you were prepared. 

Some warning signs include: 

  • Abnormal fatigue or headache
  • Muscle aches/cramping 
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Dried salt on the body
  • 2–4% decrease in body weight 
  • Dark urine

5. Wear light coloured sports clothing 

Dark clothing will protect you from the sun, absorbing and retaining heat. Light-coloured clothing, on the other hand, reflects harmful rays. 

Don’t wear any natural fibers like cotton or linen. Because they are made of natural materials, they will absorb your sweat and be more likely to cause chaffing. Sports clothing made of synthetic materials is best for all athletic activities. 

6. Expect to run much slower 

You should start your runs slow on really hot days and expect to run even slower than you usually would. Here in Canada, we get the crap end of the stick in the winter and the summer when it comes to slowing the pace down. 

Don’t be afraid to walk for a bit during your summer runs, or even take a break and get a cold drink at the convenience store. On average, expect to run 20-30 seconds slower than your casual pace… but don’t be surprised if it’s up to 90 seconds slower some days. 

And if you ever feel nauseous, dizzy, or lightheaded, stop running immediately. 

7. Always tell someone where you’re going 

If you don’t run with a group, tell someone where you are going if something happens. This is a good rule in general, especially if the conditions are not ideal. 

The same goes for particularly cold or inclement runs. 

8. Get new shoes & socks 

This might seem like an odd suggestion, but your feet can swell in the heat up to a whole size difference in the summer. 

When shopping for new summer running shoes, trying on new shoes at the end of the day (when your feet are most swollen) is a good idea. This can help you avoid getting the infamous black toenails, always from wearing a size too small. 

Buying new socks can help avoid blisters with old, worn-out socks. You also want to make sure your socks come above the heel of your shoe and don’t rub on your heel, causing sweat blisters to form. 

Pro tip: never wear cotton socks. 

9. Apply Vaseline or Body Glide 

When you’re at your sweatiest is when painful chafing will occur. Apply a lubricant like Vaseline or Body Glide to your known hot spots to avoid chafing entirely. 

If you don’t know where you usually chafe, going for a long or fast run in the heat is an excellent way to find out. Typically, the worst offenders are at your thighs, underarms, nipples, and sports bra.

10. Run in loops 

By running in a 30-40-minute loop around your neighbourhood, you can keep your body happy in the hot weather. Frequent stops for water, electrolytes, or a change of clothes can be comforting. 

And if you do need to stop, you’re just a short jog or walk away from safety. 

What are your hot weather running tips? 

Do you have hot weather running tip that’s not on this list? Be sure to let us know! 

Are you curious about training over the summer and looking for a strategy to crush your fall goal race? Our run group is accepting new members for the summer-fall training block. Stop by to try it out or reach out to learn if it might be a good fit for your training.