Beat The Heat Running Tips
Running out of ways to stay cool on your jogs?
Here are 6 tips to help you beat the heat when running this season.
The sun is beaming, blue skies all around, you’re ready to put your sunnies on and get outside for a run! Except, it’s so hot you can barely breathe when you step out of your house.
Everyone can agree that our moods improve immediately when the sun is shining and there’s a nice warm breeze outside. Motivation sets in to get out and move! But when it’s extremely humid, you’re only looking for the nearest pool, beach or patio rather than sweating it out in the beaming sun.
For all the miles you go, we’ve got you when you need some friendly reminders on how to beat the heat.
Our Bodies Reaction to Heat
Let’s start by understanding how our bodies react to heat.
The body’s normal core temperature is 37-38C. If it heats up to 39-40C your body starts to get fatigued and will slow down, at 40-41C heat exhaustion is likely (2019, MedlinePlus). When temperatures rise, the body reacts by increasing blood flow to the skin's surface, taking the heat from within the body to the surface. This means your body begins producing increased sweating, your heart rate increases, and your blood vessels dilate (2019, BBC News).
- Sunscreen is your best friend. The sun may be saying, “burn, baby, burn” but you’ll be lathered up in SPF the sun won’t know what hit ‘em. No matter what, you should always be wearing sunscreen; even on a cloudy day. Before you get dressed and ready to head out the door, put on sweat proof sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Did we just say fashion matters? We sure did. Wearing breathable, flowy and light clothing makes all the difference when you’re doing any sort of physical activity, but it’s even more imperative when being physically active in the heat. Also, make sure to wear light coloured clothing as black attracts the sun. And don’t forget about your eyes! They matter just as much as your skin. Protect them with some practical sports-performance shades. Lastly, it’s a good idea to wear a visor or hat to protect your face and the top of your head!
- Early bird or night owl? Both will do. If you’re an early riser and like to head out before the sun comes up, then running at this time is perfect for you. It’s cooler and the sun hasn’t hit its midday peak, which can be extremely difficult to run in. If you night owls think you’re off the hook, you’re wrong! Running later in the evening is also a great option to avoid sweltering heat since it won’t irritate your airways. It’s a win-win and a no-excuse kind of deal!
- Time to get shady. Changing your usual running route may be necessary to ensure you maintain a good body temperature. Pick places like a park that offer shady areas and fountains, or a nearby forest, which offers plenty of shade, picturesque views and keeps you off asphalt. Reminder: hotter temperatures boost your heart rate even if you are running at your usual pace.
- Ok, H20 is actually your REAL best friend! I know we said SPF is your BFF, but both can hold that title, right? You should be hydrating on the daily anyway but it’s most important to hydrate when you’re physically active since you lose a lot of fluids and minerals like magnesium and iron from sweating (2019, Runtastic). If you’re not staying hydrated before, during and after your run, you could become severely dehydrated. Whether it’s a water belt, pack or a convenient hand-held bottle, it’s extremely important for you to have water on you during your run in the sun.
- You know what they say, “Slow and steady wins the race”. Don’t be a champ and continue running outside if you’re feeling dizzy, weak, have muscle cramps or a headache. Stop immediately, get some shade, drink water and chill. With that said, you don’t have to let the spiking temperatures ruin your passion either. Go slow, take your time and enjoy the view! Or take it indoor if you must. Find a nice indoor track or hit the treadmill at the gym.