Running in hot weather is tough and runs that you can normally complete quite comfortably will suddenly seem really difficult. Don’t despair – you haven’t suddenly become less fit. In fact continuing to train in the heat will reap its rewards when the weather cools down (n order to cope with the heat your body has to work much harder than it normally does). To make running in hot weather more bearable try the following:-
- Run early in the morning or late in the evening; please don’t take to your run in the midday heat!
- Wear lose, breathable clothing.
- Carry a water bottle which has been chilled or partially frozen, even if you don’t drink it during your run you can pour the water over yourself as you run.
- Find a shady route to run – for example through a wood.
- If doing a long run, stick to a short route near your home that you can loop several times and leave out a towel, some cold drinks in a cool bag for each time you pass – plus an added advantage is that if you start to experience heat stroke or exhaustion you can cut your run short.
- Run indoors on a treadmill in an air-conditioned gym.
- Ignore your watch and forget your pace – run on your perceived effort level.
- Modify your workouts – don’t do intervals.
- Take a walking break every 5-10 minutes to allow your body to cool.
Alternatively consider cross-training. Use the opportunity to have a break from running and try another sport. Cycling is much more comfortable than running in hot weather, or a perhaps you can go for a refreshing swim. Or it may be a good idea to fit in some strength and conditioning work which often gets neglected by runners.
Finally, if you are exercising in the heat make sure you are aware of the danger signs of heat-related illnesses: dizziness, fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, nausea, feeling disorientated or goose bumps. If you experience any of these symptoms – stop exercising, seek shade and drink a rehydration drink containing electrolytes (or make your own by mixing juice and water with a teaspoon of salt).