The dog days of summer are officially here, and getting out the door for a run on hot days takes some serious motivation, along with some advanced preparation. With the right mindset and some pre-planning, you can become acclimated to the heat—and might even find you enjoy running in it!
As we have mentioned before, “There aren’t bad conditions, just bad gear.” Having the right clothing can go a long way towards your comfort while running in the heat. Wear loose-fitting shorts and singlets or tank tops made from technical fabrics that wick moisture away from the body. Choose a light-colored hat or visor to keep the hot sun from directly hitting your head. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the sunlight, and most run-specific specs these days are polarized, lightweight, and won’t slip. Having the right clothing won’t solve everything, but it will improve your comfort level.
Hydration is always important, but during the hottest months, it is even more important to go into each run well-hydrated. Make a habit of sipping water or an electrolyte drink such as Nuun throughout the day, every day. Depending on the length of your run, you may need to carry extra water via a handheld bottle or some form of “fuel-belt” style carrier. Carry extra electrolyte supplements (Endurolytes are a great option). Electrolytes will help your body retain the water you drink to keep your hydration level higher. If carrying a bottle isn’t your thing, plan your route around TapRoutes or carry some spare cash for a convenience store stop if needed.
Allow your body time to adapt to the hotter conditions. Most runners and walkers can adapt to the heat with consistent effort in a 2-3 week period. Heat and humidity can have a huge impact on your effort level, and therefore your pace. Be flexible and slow your pace if needed, maybe even by 1-2 minutes a mile for a few weeks. Afford yourself walk breaks, or better yet, leave your watch at home and run based on effort.
Timing is everything. Run in the early morning or late at night to avoid the heat of day. In the Memphis area, you’ll find lower temps with higher humidity in the mornings. Evenings will bring lower humidity but typically higher temps. Find what works for your body and what is the most comfortable for you.
While summers in the south don’t present ideal conditions for outdoor running, with the right mindset you can embrace the hot temperatures and get out the door. Daily attention to hydration and nutrition, as well as having the right gear and planning ahead, can make summer runs tolerable. Not only will you see a rise in your performance when the cooler temperatures come, but you might just appreciate those cold winter mornings a little more.
Visit Fleet Feet Sports for all your hot weather running needs. We have a large assortment of hydration systems, electrolyte supplements, and technical clothing to make summer running bearable.
Rachel Randall is the Marketing Director at Fleet Feet Sports. She is also a teacher, a musician, a mother of two active boys, and a runner. She finds a way to fit her runs in, but she does not clean her house unless you are coming over. For more information call (901) 761-0078 or visit our website at fleetfeetmemphis.com.