In runDisney/ Running

Summer Runs: 7 Tips to Beat the Heat

As a devout distance runner living in Florida, I’m better versed in running in extreme heat and humidity than I’d probably like to be. That said, there’s a certain joy to sweating through your runs, to having no choice but to conquer your mileage at sunrise or sunfall, and to being forced to be fully in tune with your body and its needs.

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All of this said, while I have plenty of tips for running in extreme temperatures, nothing should EVER be a substitute for the advice of your doctor or listening to your own body. So, as always, listen to them and it first – and be safe, well, and smart out there!!

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So without further ado, seven key tips for running when it’s hot as heck outside. 

  1. Plan your run for the coolest time of day. Look at the forecast and plan accordingly. This will usually mean runs at or before sunrise or, perhaps, sunset. If you are marathon training in the dead of summer, this often means biting the bullet and getting out there long before the crack of dawn – and laying out all of your gear the night before to make sure you’re out the door without wasting precious pre-sunrise time. You don’t want to be running for prolonged distances when the sun is high in the sky. (But remember that bug spray if you’re hitting marshy areas in Florida or elsewhere before sunrise!! The mosquitos are extra friendly at that time of day.) 
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Oh – and hydrate. This is SO important – before, during, and after your runs. It’s hard to underestimate how much water your body loses from sweating during a hot run. This can lead to all sorts of dangers as your body goes into panic mode and clings to what water it has. (My hands have been known to turn into sausages during the Dopey Challenge. It ain’t pretty.) Carrying water during a run can be a pain – so experiment to see what works for you. I personally love this handheld for short runs when I’m giving water to my kids, too, because you just squeeze it to drink. For belts, I can’t stand when the bottles are on my hips (just personal preference) but love this angled water bottle belt by Nathan. For the longest runs, especially when spots to refill will be scarce, sometimes you just have to bit the bullet and wear a Camelback or something similar. You can order these online or visit a running store to try them on and see what’s most comfortable. And last but not least, consider your course and where (if anywhere) you’ll be able to refill along the way. Will there be water fountains? Friendly restaurants that will give you water? Do you need to arrange to have someone meet you with water along the way? During 20+ mile training sessions in extreme heat, don’t doubt that you’ll need more than even a full Camelback of water.
  3. Don’t just fuel – replace your salt too. As you run longer and longer distances, you’ll figure out along the way what sorts of fuel work best for you. Some people love one thing while someone else might not be able to tolerate that taste or texture while running. Someone else my have tummy issues with a type of fuel that doesn’t bother you at all. So experiment and see what works best for you. I personally love Nuun tablets (with or without caffeine) and Tailwind. For long runs in extreme heat, I also always carry Saltsticks. I personally use these capsules but these chewable tabs are also very popular and are even available in packets that are easy to pocket for use on the go. (And I know I said it already – but it’s worth mentioning here that if you have any concerns whatsoever please take your doctor’s advice on these matters far far above mine. This is just what has worked well for me and my running partners over the years.)
  4. Take advantage of cooling tools. There are lots of great tools to keep yourself cooler and more comfortable during hot runs. Breathable clothing that wicks moisture is a must. I also always wear these goodr sunglasses (they’re only $25!!) and a cheap visor. Also don’t neglect your feet. A good pair of socks that keeps your toes happy is so important. I wear these Injinji socks (also available for men) on every run over 10 miles and rarely if ever get blisters. And speaking of things like blisters, your skin is more likely to rub against your clothing and itself in the heat – so it’s more important than ever to use a good anti-chafing balm like Body Glide – a must have in any distance runner’s arsenal. And last but DEFINITELY not least, get yourself a good cooling neck gaitor. I have this one and use it religiously during the summer. It can be worn around your neck or head. I soak it with cool water before leaving the house and it’s a huge help along the way.
  5. Slow down. Your body reacts differently to runs in hot weather. It’s not just your comfort that’s affected – or even your body’s tendency to lose more water and salt – even your heartrate will generally be faster in hot temperatures. That means it’s even more important to slow down out there. Expect to run 30 to 90 seconds (or more) slower per mile than you would in ideal temperatures. Here’s a great article that talks more about this.
  6. Run with a partner – or at least make sure someone knows your planned pace and path. This should always be a rule – but even more so when you’re out in tough conditions. Go out with a friend and have each other’s backs out there or, at the very least, make sure someone knows your plans – where will you be running and how long do you expect to be gone? That way, someone is on alert if you hit trouble along the way. (It’s also smart to have a fitness app going that will track your location and give access to it to someone you trust. For so many reasons.) 
  7. Listen to your body. Above and beyond anything and everything else – listen to your body. You might end up running a little slower or a little less than you’d planned. But learn the difference between discomfort and distress. If your body is sending you signals, listen to them. Next time you can adjust your plans and preparation accordingly. 

Note that some of the above links are affiliate links, meaning that I might benefit in some small amount by your clicking on them to make a purchase – though at no added cost to you. That said, every product listed is one that I personally use regularly and has proven itself tried and true.

Here’s hoping this was helpful!! And feel free to chime in in the comments. How do you deal with the heat and humidity when running?

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You can find my complete guide to making the most of your runDisney race weekend RIGHT HERE. And while those are on hold, you can find my guide to running trails on Disney World property RIGHT HERE.

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Please join me on Instagram for my day-to-day adventures living a mile from the magic. And join the conversation over in our community on Facebook!

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If you’re planning a trip to Disney and want a fun way to rock a mask, check out my designs at TeePublic right HERE!! If you cannot or choose not to visit now and are looking for a way to bring the magic home, I’d love for you to check out my Core Memory Candle collection right HERE. And as always, stay safe and be kind, my friends.



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