After racing in extreme heat conditions on Sunday (stay tuned for my race recap), I figured now would be a good time to share some tips for running/racing in the heat.
1- Hydration is key but that’s pretty obvious. This means hydrating and replenishing electrolytes before, during, and after running. You should ‘obey your thirst’ or be drinking fluids at least every 20 minutes during your run. I’m a big advocate for running with a hydration pack for this reason even though it may add on some extra weight.
2- If you don’t want to run with a hydration pack, plan your route ahead of time so you can plant water bottles if you don’t want to carry them. Or, plan your route relative to water fountains/stores with water.
3- Run early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid peak heat of the day.
4- Try to run in the shade or on trails if possible.. duh! It’s inevitable that you will end up running in the sun at some which brings me to my next tip ->
5- Wear sunblock! or else you will end up looking like a lobster like I do right now…
5- Pick the right gear to wear. This means lighter colored, loose-fitted technical clothing which will help your body breathe and cool itself down naturally.
6- Be flexible. Modify your workouts or race goals and adjust your pace as needed.
7- Check the heat index before you head out. The heat index combines temperature with relative humidity to determine the apparent temperature (how hot it actually feels). Humidity makes it more difficult for sweat to evaporate off of your body, which is how sweating cools you down.
8- Be aware of the signs of heat-related illnesses (heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, etc).
The bottom line is you need to listen to your body and not push it too hard until you are used to running in the heat. Even then, be careful!