Tips for Running in the Heat!

Everywhere in the UK and Europe seems to be basking in a heatwave, which is brilliant for those beach lovers, but can easily play havoc with everyone who is training for autumn marathons.  

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Without doubt, running in hotter temperatures puts your body at increased stress and without proper preparation could lead to issues but take a few precautionary steps and you'll be just fine. 

Here’s a few tips and tricks I use for when it’s hot. The training must go on!

  1. Stay close to home, the car or the office - Now is not the time to run your big loop, that remote trail run or an out and back along the canal.  Instead do some repetitive loops near where you can store some water and supplies.  It’s far safer to do a few small loops, than one big one.
  2. Run by effort, not pace - Ignore your GPS watch showing your pace and look at your heart rate or if you don't have a HR monitor then run on effort or feel.  
  3. Electrolytes - I take these before and during my runs to help maintain sodium and magnesium levels, which are commonly lost when you sweat.  Some products I like are SiS GO Hydro or Precision Hydration.  Just add them to water. 
  4. Drink to thirst - Don't drink loads just because you're worried.  If you're thirsty then have something to drink, if not then wait.  
  5. Early mornings provide the coolest temperatures of the day in the UK. 
  6. Head for the park - Asphalt reflects the sun a lot more than grass, so run on the grass where you can.  Plus the park will usually have lots of trees, so you can run in the shade they provide.  Check out www.findafountain.org for parks with water fountains too! In London Greenwich, Victoria, Richmond and Regents Park have them. 
  7. Wear technical clothing - it will draw sweat away from the skin to evaporate. Size up as it will allow it to breathe better.  Use body glide to avoid chafing.
  8. Suncream - I only use waterproof factor 50+. If you start to burn your body will over heat rapidly. 
  9. Take a handheld bottle if you’re running for 30-60 minutes.  I’d recommend getting a pack for anything longer while the temperatures are 25+ degrees C so you can carry more water with you.
  10. Slow down or stop - if you're not feeling it, don't worry! There's no shame in slowing right down or even stopping completely and trying again later on when it's a bit cooler.
  11. Always run with your phone, a bank card.  Just in case you need to get in touch with someone, buy a drink or get the bus home. 
  12. Treadmill running - if you're really not great in the heat then head for the treadmill and make the most of the gym's air con!
  13. Hat - Any hat is better than no hat, keep your head protected and out of the sun. 
  14. Post run - I like to refuel with things like bananas, crisps (for the salt), watermelon, milk, melon. Putting ice on the back of your neck and taking a colder shower will help you cool after as well. 
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Finally running in the warm should be fun, enjoy it while it's here.  Before we know it the rain and cold will be back.  If you're on holiday, have a great break!