Inspired by the current heatwave here in the UK, I thought I would provide you all with some advice when it comes to running in the heat. This advice is especially tailored towards people who live in the UK (and similar locations) where it is never hot for long enough to acclimatise properly. We get one or two weeks of heat at a time, and we have to figure out how to deal with it, rather than acclimatising over time.
Here are my top five tips to run strong when it's hot. I hope they help!
Tip 1: Slow Down
The first piece of advice I am going to give you for running in the heat is to slow down. If the temperature is higher and you are not acclimatised to the heat, running is going to have a much bigger and more intense affect on your body which will be working hard to cool down. You will probably find your heart rate is elevated by the heat quite drastically. Slow down, get in zone, and don't overdo it.
Tip 2: Warm Up & Cool Down Properly
Whatever you do, avoid running straight up the side of a hill on a hot summers day with no warm up. This just increases the demand and shock that your body has to process in one go. A good warm up will gently raise the body temperature, heart rate and prepare the muscles and joints for exercise. Here is a good running warm up routine that only takes a few minutes:
Ankle circles for 10 seconds on each side
Jog on the spot for 20 seconds
High knees for 20 seconds
Heel flicks for 20 seconds
Saggital leg swings for 10 seconds each side
Frontal leg swings for 10 seconds each side
Tip 3: Swim, All The Time!
I can't resist a swim after, or sometimes during a run on a hot summers day! Plan your runs so they finish by a safe/clean river or beach so you can take a dip to cool down after! It's literally the best feeling. It also adds the benefit of icing of your muscles if the water is cold enough, speeding up recovery.
It's worth remembering that if your body is very hot, you should enter the water slowly, and not just dive straight in. Cooling down slowly is less likely to shock the body than switching straight from overheated to freezing!
Tip 4: Master Your Personal Hydration Strategy
Hydration is probably the most important aspect to get right when running in the heat. The heat causes you to sweat more, meaning you are losing much more water and sodium than you were before the summer. This greater fluid and sodium loss is more likely to cause minor problems like lack of energy, but also major problems such as dehydration or even hyponatremia.
To master your hydration strategy, get a sweat test from Precision Hydration. If you don't want to do a laboratory sweat test, you can do their free online sweat test which I have linked below. This will give you a great starting point for using sodium products to replenish your body, keep yourself safe and improve your performance. Feel free to use the code TM-OVERTHEFELLS for 15% off your first order with Precision Hydration
Visit the PH shop (use code TM-OVERTHEFELLS for 15% off first order)
Tip 5: Plan Your Runs
How you plan your runs very much depends on your goals. If you are training for a race this summer, get used to the heat. Learn to embrace it and your body will acclimatise to the heat over a few weeks.
If you are not racing this summer, avoid the heat! Plan your runs for early in the morning or late in the evening when it is cooler. That way you can enjoy your runs without excessively sweating, getting sunburned and overheating!
Go careful out there in the sun! It can be brutal. While you're here, please take a minute to browse around my website and read about the coaching and training camps that I offer. You can also join my email list to receive my newsletter at the bottom of the page. Thank you for your support, Joe.