Many countries are experiencing record high temperatures right now, with a heat wave rolling over Canada and the US, and an extreme heat alert issued for the UK. That’s bad news if you want to maintain your run, whether it’s training for an event or just keeping your fitness up.
To find out how you can stay safe and comfortable while running in hot weather, spoke with two professional athletes who are used to staying active when temperatures rise.
Swiftwick (opens in new tab) athlete Amanda Foland (opens in new tab) is a certified personal trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine and an expert in sports nutrition by the International Sports Sciences Association.
“Working out in the heat can be tricky,” she says, “Often athletes go into their workouts with the intention of reaching a goal, but if they’re not well hydrated and fueled beforehand, those goals can be saturated by the heat.
“As a coach and athlete, I consciously drink plenty of water throughout the day, one tablet of salt before training, and if longer than 45 minutes, another to make sure my body is getting sodium to adhere to the sodium/potassium pump. .which is in our hearts.”
Foland explains that your choice of clothes is also important. “Other tips I live [are] wear light, looser, and more comfortable clothing, bring a bottle of water during workouts, and spray your head with water as needed to keep your body temperature lower.”
Earlier this year, Under Armor launched a new line of Iso-Chill sportswear made from flat acrylic fibers with a titanium dioxide coating. Having tested a number of garments ourselves, we can say that it definitely makes a difference, but it works best to refresh you when your run is over. Fabric is especially effective when saturated, either with sweat or a little extra water from your bottle.
Foland also encourages its athletes to keep sweat logs. “This involves weighing pre/post workouts to handle the amount of water needed in a workout based on the weight lost during that session,” she says.
“Being aware of how much time is spent in the heat is also important. Just like increasing mileage, increasing the duration of the heat takes time, slow and steady with lower intensity attention and being aware of the signals your body is sending you.”
Keeping calm on long runs
also spoke with endurance runner and athlete Nathan Mike Wardian (opens in new tab)winner of the US 50K Championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He has also won the US 50K Championship in 2011 and the US National 100K Championship in 2008. Here he shares his advice for staying safe and comfortable when the weather warms up…
wear a hat
I think even a visor can make a big difference to keep cool in the summer heat. Something to block the sun really helps and allows you to hide in the shade, and just a little shade can really help.
wet your body
I like to put my Nathan’s water (opens in new tab) hydration vest around my neck and on the inside of my wrists and that I feel can really cool you down and lower my heart rate, for me by up to 10 beats.
find the shadow
If you can look for every shadow or shadow you can find. Run near buildings, under trees or even over walkways to get some rest from the sun.
Choose the time of day to run
Unless you’re training for a very hot run, you can time your runs in the cooler hours of the day or after a rain or in the evening after sunset.
Ice in your vest/pack/bottles
Summer ice is your best friend – use it. I used to put ice on my Nathan handhelds and holding a cold bottle really helps keep me calm.
use your technology
You can also use your fitness tracker or running watch to help you train when the weather gets hot. Running in hot weather increases the load on your cardiovascular system (opens in new tab), causing your heart and lungs to work harder than normal, so it’s a good idea to keep your pace low Keep an eye on your watch while running; if your heart rate is noticeably higher than expected, try to slow down.
Some devices, including Garmin watches, allow you to set custom alerts that let you know if your heart rate drops below or rises above a certain rate. This can help you stay within a sensitive heart rate zone during your workout.
It’s also a good idea to wear a heart rate monitor with a chest strap, if you have one. It will respond more quickly to changes than a watch, and sweat provides conductivity between your skin and the sensors.
A smart scale can be a useful tool if you’re keeping a sweat log. Many, including the Withings Body Cardio and Garmin Index S2, not only measure your weight, but use bioelectrical impedance to estimate the volume of water in your body so you can more accurately track the amount of water lost as sweat.