I received this question from a new-ish runner last week:
How do you deal with the heat? I am having the hardest time adjusting . I ran outside most of the winter but the dripping sweat in my eyes and steamed up sunglasses and what feels like one long hot flash is really affecting the consistency of my runs. I am stopping to wipe out my eyes and fiddle with sunglasses, and then try to refocus. I am trying to get used to the water belt for hydration and I do the energy beans for the longer runs as I am up to 8 miles now. Do i just need to suck it up or are there some tips out there ?
I gave her the following tips, then…I put the question out there to veteran runners and asked for their best tips. You can read those below my tips.
It definitely takes some getting used to at the beginning of the summer. Heat and humidity seem to suck the life out of you (or at least the energy out of you). That said, you will adjust to it. Here are a few things I learned:
* Hydrate ALL the time. Drink water all day, every day. You sweat tons of it in summer, so just keep drinking all the time.
* Become a vampire runner — run very early or very late — avoid the sun. If you must run in the sun, pick a shady route.
* Wear a ballcap and sunglasses and then you only have to put sunscreen below your eyes (never put it on your forehead..it will just drip into your eyes the whole time..and that HURTS!).
* Invest in real running/athletic sunglasses that don’t fog. You’ll pay about $40 (or more), but…they’re worth it. They won’t steam up.
* On super hot days, wet & freeze a washcloth and carry it. Laugh, but…it works…having cold hands seems to cool your whole body. Once it unfreezes, you can wrap it around your neck…feels wonderful and/0r use it as a sweat rag. Gross? Whatever…we’re runners…our bar for “gross” is set pretty high.
* Plan a route that lets you refill your water bottle with cold water (Country Fair bathroom, friend’s house, etc.)
* Don’t be afraid to alter your schedule a bit. Don’t be so regimented that you’re doing 8 miles on Saturday when it’s 90 degrees if Sunday or Monday it’s going to be 70…you know? It’s OK to miss a run or two, too. It’s really not that big of a deal.
* Dress in moisture-wicking, light colored running clothes. Real running gear (check Marshall’s & TJ Maxx for cheap, but good stuff), makes all the difference. Never run in cotton.
OK….now, for more tips from readers:
* You definitely won’t be able to run with the same intensity as you would in cooler weather. Dial down your pace a notch, hydrate, run earlier in the day or earlier in the evening, wear a hat or a headband, and don’t forget sunblock! — Ramon Patron, Jr.
* I love to run in the heat. Wear a hat for the sweat and forget the sunglasses. Wear loose fitting clothing, hydrate and enjoy! — Tom Toale
* I struggle with this every year. The transition to warmer weather is difficult when temperatures are cool one day and blazing hot the next. I slow down and try to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Try to run early morning or evening. Shorten up the run on super hot days. Walk if you need to. It takes time to acclimate, some people take longer than others to adjust. Have patience. — Ginny Sackett
* I avoid afternoon runs when it’s hot. Just can’t do it during those hotter hours of the day. — Lisa Shade
* I run later and bring water to drink and dump over my head. Its works great. I did a half in 92 degrees and I was fine. — Amy Morrow
* Like the first few cold/dark runs of winter, I give myself a break on time and I focus and realize that it’s great I’m even able to be out there. — Christine Vassen
* When It gets this hot this fast, it’s really hard to adjust. When It gets cold you can wear more but the heat is tough until you can get some endurance. Just give yourself time to transition to it. — Bill Page
* When it’s really hot, I wet my hair thoroughly with cold water before I go out in the garden. — Jenny Geisler
* Hydrate throughout the day, dress like it’s 20 degrees hotter than it is, look for routes in the shade or at least run on the side of the street in the shade, and run earlier in the morning or later in the evening. When you’re choosing clothes, find ones that breath well. If it’s really hot and you want to run right now, get your hair wet (or a hat) before you run. The evaporation of the liquid will cool you until it’s dry…and when it’s super hot, don’t be afraid to run a little shorter that day. — Greg Cooper (Editor’s note: Greg is the PSBehrend running coach…so the man knows of what he speaks!)
* The heat sucks the life out if me! Run early morning, like 5 to 6 a.m. before work. Hydrate and change up the venue — trail runs or park trails usually are more shady and cooler. — Suzanne Clickett
* I have put ice cubes in a bandana and wrapped it around my neck. — Sheryl Barner
ALSO…..I did just find this article advising you to drink a slushie before a hot run. It’s interesting and I think I’m going to try it.
Watch out for the warning signs of heat exhaustion, including profuse sweating,weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, light-headedness, and muscle cramps. Some say that nausea is the first sign of overheating and headache is the first sign of dehydration. More info (including symptoms to watch for) here.
Stay cool, my friends!