The dog days of summer are officially here. Getting out the door to run in the heat takes some serious motivation, along with some preparation. With the right mindset and a little planning, you can become acclimated to running in the heat—and might even find you enjoy it!
As the saying goes, ‘There aren’t bad conditions, just bad gear.” Having the right clothing can go a long way toward your comfort when running in the heat. Wear loose-fitting shorts and singlets or tank tops made from technical fabrics that wick moisture away from your body. Choose a light-colored hat or visor to keep the sun from directly hitting your head. Sunglasses will help protect your eyes. Most run-specific specs these days have polarized lenses, are lightweight, and won’t slip. Having the right gear won’t solve everything, but it will improve your comfort level.
Goodr is a great option for stylish and affordable run-specific glasses.
This is always important, but even more so during the hottest months. Make a habit of sipping water or an electrolyte drink throughout your day, every day. Depending on the length of your run, you may need to carry extra water or electrolytes in a handheld bottle or a “fuel-belt” style carrier. Electrolytes will help your body retain the water you drink to keep your hydration level high. 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.
Nuun, SaltStick, Tailwind Nutrition, and Scratch Labs are all good electrolyte options.
Allow your body time to get used 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. Afford yourself walking breaks. Or better yet, leave your watch at home and run based on effort.
Be flexible and slow down if needed, maybe even by 1-2 minutes a mile for a few weeks.
Timing is everything. Run in the early morning or late at night to avoid the heat of the day. Memphis sees lower temperatures with higher humidity in the mornings. Evenings bring lower humidity but typically have higher temperatures. Find what works for your body and what is most comfortable for you.
While summers in the South don’t present ideal conditions, you can embrace the heat and get outdoors with the right mindset and some preparation. 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 your performance improve when cooler temperatures return, but you might just find more appreciation for those cold winter mornings.
Visit Fleet Feet for 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 go-to girl for all marketing, media, and events at Fleet Feet Sports. She has run more marathons that she can count, including the 2017 NYC marathon in November.