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8 Tips for Running in the Heat

I don’t know about the weather where you live, but it is freaking HOT in Winston-Salem. HOT & HUMID. I love running outside but with weather like this, it can be downright dangerous.

Here are eight tips for keeping cool while maintaining your hot running bod in the hot summer months.

heatrun

1) Run in the off hours. The best option for running in the heat: don’t run in the peak heat. Go early or go late. I find that going early is cooler since the temperature has all night to drop and the roads aren’t still radiating heat from the hot day.

2) Wear breathable, wicking clothing in light colorsPlease, for the love of all that is good and wise, don’t wear cotton, especially if you live in a humid environment. It will trap the heat escaping from your body, hold onto your sweat, make you hotter, and slow you down when your shirt gets heavy from sweat. And other runners will scoff at you. 😉 Check TJ Maxx and Dick’s Sporting Goods for deals.

Wasatch Back RElay2[ This was at the end of my third leg of the Wasatch Back Relay. The temps for this run were in the high 90s at an altitude around 7000 feet.]

3) Carry water. Drink 16 oz before you head out and carry water, even for distances when you normally wouldn’t. In the cooler months, I rarely carry water with me on runs shorter than six miles. But in the heat, I run with water. In hot temps, you will dehydrate more quickly and that water might be your savior mid-run. I love this water bottle; it straps onto your hand so you don’t have to grip it and it has a pouch for keys, a phone, etc.

4) If the sun is up, wear sunscreen. I slather SPF 70 on my face and SPF 30 on the rest of my body. Don’t worry about the sunscreen blocking your sweat. You’ll still sweat just fine. 🙂

5) Wear a breathable hat and/or sunglasses to protect your face and eyes. Squinting sucks when you’re running. I love my white Nike hat.

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6) Run more slowly than your typical pace. Go by your typical effort instead of your typical pace.  Your regular pace will feel harder in the heat and humidity. Your body will adapt eventually but don’t let slower runs discourage you. And don’t push your pace if you’re not feeling strong.

7) Run with someone or tell someone when you’re going and when you’ll be back. And then check back in so they don’t worry. You never know what can happen on a run, so this is always a good idea, but especially a good idea when you’re running in extreme temps. Heck, tweet or email me if you have to! (tweet: @afoodiestaysfit, email: [email protected])

8 ) Listen to your body. Have no shame in taking walk breaks. Have no shame in calling it quits.  If you don’t feel well during the run, don’t push your limits. If you feel dizzy, if you notice you aren’t sweating like you normally do, or if something just doesn’t feel right, back it off and call it a day. There is no shame in knowing and listening your body.

Or reveling in massive amounts of sweat. 🙂Wasatch Back Relay

What are your tips for running in the heat?

Do you live in a humid environment? I grew up in a desert (Utah) and this humidity in North Carolina has been quite the beast to get used to!

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  • Lisa (Im an Okie)
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    Sadly, here’s my tip that I tell myself. Don’t do it.

    I just don’t run unless it’s 85 or below haha! It’s been in the 100+ for the past 2 weeks…miserable!

    • Teri
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      My in-laws have told me about the weather there. It sounds AWFUL. Thankfully I’ve never visited OK in the full summer heat.

  • Jessica
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    I saw those tips on active and have already started looking for deals on running shirts… I live in South Florida and am drenched from running 2 miles… at 8pm! It’s crazy… fall can’t come soon enough!

    • Teri
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      Was there a similar article on Active? Can you send me the link so I can post it here? Thanks!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
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    i can’t do sunglasses, but i LOVE hats! plus it keeps the sweat out of my eyes 🙂 and waterwaterwaterwater!

  • Katie
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    Great tips! It doesn’t get to hot here in CO, but during the summer, I still make it a point to go in the early morning. I hate running in the heat…it makes it 100x harder!

  • Becky
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    I have been training in the heat and humidity. I’ll take freezing temps over this any day! I love my white Nike hat, too! I also always wear my Camelbak, so I have easy access to water….and stop if I need to stop.

    • Teri
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      When I lived in Utah and there was no shade, I ran with a Camelbak. I used to put ice cubes in it to keep my back cool too. 🙂

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston
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    This was a wonderful post!! It’s been awfully humid in Ohio this summer too. It really needs to rain here! Anyway, I bring water/drop a water bottle off at a good position in my loop. Also now that I’ve moved I can do more inside workouts!

    • Teri
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      good idea to drop the water. I’ve never tried that but lots of people swear by it.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
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    I’ve been having some hot runs (okay, more like 2-minute run and 43-min walks, haha) and I definitely make the mistake of wearing cotton. I tried it once wearing some new workout gear that wasn’t cotton and thought-wow, I don’t feel like I’m dying! haha

    • Teri
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      haha! Well, lessoned learned! 🙂

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter
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    Great tips! I’m HUGE on #7. I always tell people where I’m going, how long I should be out, how long until you know something is probably wrong. I had a roommate that really preferred me doing that than not contacting them at all.

    • Teri
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      that’s great!

  • Jessi @ pizza to quinoa
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    I could have SERIOUSLY used these a few hours earlier! I’m a new runner and attempted a run around 2pm in Charleston, SC yesterday breaking almost every rule. It did not go well for me! Love your blog! Thanks for the great tips!

    • Teri
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      oh no! I hope you were OK! Congrats on being a new runner! I love your blog name. 🙂

  • christina
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    i live in charleston, SC so these tips were very helpful. i didn’t know you shouldn’t wear cotton so i’m glad you posted this. this heat is ridiculous! i hate walking out first thing in the morning and feeling sticky.

  • Nichole
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    Super helpful tips. Good for folks like me in this crazy GA weather. I think it’s important to drink even if you aren’t really thirsty.

  • Sarah
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    good tips:). i live in chicago and it is so humid here! i am not a very experienced runner but i never run in the heat of day in the summer…it is miserable.

  • Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather
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    All great tips that I use! Its good not to push yourself to make a certain pace in extra hot temperatures.

  • Bekah
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    Living in New England we do on occasion get the “muggies” which we battled last month but so far this month it has been wonderful. Training for a marathon in the humidity can be brutal but I am a big believer in what does not kill you will make you stronger 😉

  • Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun
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    Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  • Lisa
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    Telling someone where you run is a good tip. I don’t do that enough.

  • Michelle (Life, With Relish)
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    Thank you for this post!! I just started training for my 2nd half– the first one was in early May so I trained late winter/ early spring and actually found that much easier than these hot, humid, GROSS runs I’ve been doing. I love how you say “typical effort instead of typical speed.” That’s a really helpful way of thinking for me.

  • [email protected] La Vida Pura
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    Heat and humidity have not once been a problem in my life… I live in Alaska 😛

  • Erika
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    I’m in Iowa and our current heat index is 100 degrees with 75% humidity! Crazy hot. As much as I love the hot temperatures for laying by the pool I do not like them for running. One tip I would add is to run in a well populated area. Last summer there was a girl that passed out during a hot day on the trail I run – there were enough people on the trail that somebody found her quickly and she got the help she needed.

  • janetha g.
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    here is my tip: don’t do it! haha 😉 i spy a familiar looking T shirt!

  • Lauren @ Health on the Run
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    These are great tips! I hate running in the heat, but there are definitely things you can do to make it less painful. I go back and forth about running in the morning though. It’s definitely cooler, but sometimes I can’t take the higher humidity! It’s not always a great trade-off. So when it gets really bad out, I take the “cop out” route — I run inside on the treadmill! 🙂

  • Nikki
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    Hi there!
    I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago and I love it! Keep up the great work!

  • Kat (Bubble Gum Gym Kat)
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    yeah I live in Utah..it is drryyyy I love it

  • [email protected]'s Going The Distance
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    Ugh moving to AZ sucked for my running haha. Well, hurting me knee did. But it NEVER COOLS DOWN HERE!!! Crazy 🙂 My tip for running in the heat is carrying water bottles! It might weigh you down a bit, but it’s worth it. I have a hand-held one that’s pretty nice.

  • Ashley
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    Great post!!! Dehydration is no JOKE. Pretty sure that is the culprit for this whole mess Chris is going through! Love the photo of you running in the desert! xo

  • SheFit
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    Great tips! I definitely needs these as it is 115 degrees out here 🙁

  • sarah
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    I saw your toe-sy shoes on Facebook!! let me know where you got them, and what style you recommend. I am intrigued.

  • Alycia @ Fit n Fresh
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    Awesome tips! I had little confession: I almost always run in cotton tees… Don’t judge me! I really do need to buy some nicer running shirts lol you may have just shamed me into it

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life)
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    Great tips! I finally learned after a couple of miserable weeks that I had to wake up at 6am and wog (walk/jog) or that it wasn’t going to happen- too hot 🙂

  • Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes
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    I don’t know if it gets much more humid than South FL! I haven’t run all summer, but last summer I did. Almost suffered from heat exhaustion more than once. Trained for a half-marathon then got sick right before, so thinking about doing one in November! If so, I better get out there soon! Definitely should look into the water bottle…

  • Lauren
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    Just went running in New Orleans and man was it hard to breathe!! I just tried not to push myself to hard and hoped it would get easier and it did! It takes a mile or so to establish the right breath

  • KK
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    I would also suggest looking into running gear that keeps you cool. Cooling vests, shirts, etc. There is a men’s running shirt on the market that helps runners stay cool in hot weather. They have a running sleeveless shirt that keeps athletes 10 to 20 degrees cooler than outside temperatures. Check them out if you have interest http://www.fros-tsports.com

    • Teri
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      oh cool – I’d never heard of that gear! Thanks!

  • Nicole H
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    Just came across this post on pinterest. I live in Ontario Canada and our Summers are quite humid and occasionally hot. These are great tips. I love running with my iphone now because my Hubby can check where I am thru the find my friends app and if I run into problems i can call or text to have him come get me. I hate running with sunglasses (find once my face gets sweaty they slide and feel gross) but love running in my UA hat. I have to figure out a good way to bring water along on those hot days…I find it difficult to carry a water bottle, but I am going to look into the one that you suggested….i might be abel to handle that one.

    Thanks again.

  • Lauren
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    I live in south Alabama and in the summer it’s MISERABLE with heat and humidity. 90F by 7am and almost always 95% humidity. I’m a newer runner but drink water the night before and the morning of and try to be back inside by 615am. I will definitely start carrying water as the summer gets even hotter. I’ve never done that before but that’s probably why I feel terrible and quit running in the summers. Need to figure out a comfortable way to carry it so may look into the bottle you recommended. I love my visor and always wear my sunglasses. I’ve also recently started running with my phone if I’m not with a buddy so that I can call if I need help. Thanks for all the helpful tips!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      I’m glad you found this helpful!

      I also use a little travel size bottle (the ones you can buy empty to fill with your own shampoo or conditioner) to carry water and it slides right into my flip belt. It’s not a lot of water but enough to parch thirst on shorter, hot runs.

  • Danielle
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    Great list! I live in East Texas. Lots of trees, humidity, and heat! Love the water bottle idea! I’ll have to check it out! I usually have to run at 5:30 or 6 am and it’s already 80 by that point :/

  • PAULA
    at

    I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS let my hubby know when I am taking off on a heat run (or my bike if I am going alone), my path, and how far I plan on going. There is a new app for iphone (not for droids yet) that keeps up with your movement. If you haven’t moved in 2 minutes it calls you, if you don’t answer it calls your person you’ve chosen to alert them. If you haven’t moved in 5 minutes, or turned off your alarm, it notifies the nearest 911 as your whereabouts, phone number, and vital information! This is good for runners and cyclists (I am both)! Check it out!