Warm weather running refers to running in hot and humid conditions, which can pose challenges to runners. Running in heat can put stress on the cardiovascular system, making the heart stronger, and decrease blood flow to muscles because the blood is going to the skin instead, making training similar to that in high elevations. However, running in hot weather can also make you a better runner by causing physiological adaptations to work with less oxygen, similar to altitude training.
Running in hot weather can also boost calorie burn, improve running form, and build mental toughness. To stay safe and comfortable while running in hot weather, runners should wear moisture-wicking clothing, light colors, and protect against the sun. They should also stay hydrated, pre-cool, and run by effort rather than pace. It's important to listen to your body and avoid running in extreme heat that can lead to heat illnesses like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
TIPS FOR RUNNING IN WARM WEATHER
- Stay Hydrated: Drink water before, during (every 15-20 minutes), and after runs. Dehydration can impair performance and increase the risk of heat-related issues.
- Wear Proper Clothing: Choose light, breathable fabrics to help sweat evaporate and cool the body. Opt for lighter colors over dark, and consider lightweight hats and sunglasses for sun protection.
- Time Your Runs Wisely: Run during cooler parts of the day, like early mornings or late evenings. Avoid running when the sun is at its peak.
- Adjust Pace and Distance: Heat makes your body work harder, leading to quicker fatigue. Slow down your pace, shorten your distance, and take breaks when necessary.
- Monitor for Heat Illness: Be aware of signs like headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. If you experience these, stop immediately, find shade, and hydrate.
SAFETY AND SUCCESS IN WARM WEATHER RUNNING
- It's crucial to be cautious and prepared when running in warm weather. Listen to your body and modify your training based on the heat. This way, you can continue to enjoy and benefit from running, even in higher temperatures. Remember, your safety and health should always come first.
WARM WEATHER RUNNING FAQs
Running in extreme heat can pose several risks to your health, including:
- Dehydration: The risk of dehydration increases with every 5°F rise in temperature above 60°F. Runners can lose between 6 and 12 oz. of fluid for every 20 minutes of running in hot weather.
- Heat exhaustion: Characterized by a rise in body temperature, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and headache. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.
- Heat stroke: A life-threatening condition that occurs when the body's cooling system fails, causing the core body temperature to rise to dangerous levels. Heat stroke can lead to severe damage to the brain, kidneys, and other internal organs.
- Muscle cramps: Running in hot weather can cause muscle cramps due to dehydration and increased stress on the body.
- Cardiovascular issues: Running in extreme heat can put stress on the cardiovascular system, making the heart work harder to maintain blood flow to both the skin and the muscles.
- Skin issues: Running in hot weather can cause sunburn, skin rashes, and blisters due to prolonged exposure to the sun and sweat.
To minimize these risks, it is essential to follow safety precautions such as staying hydrated, wearing appropriate clothing, and being mindful of your body's signals. If you experience symptoms of heat illness, stop running, seek shade, and hydrate.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- The Surprising Benefits of Running in Heat - The Mother Runners
- 20 Tips for Running in Heat and Humidity — Runstreet
- Running in the Heat - How to Run in Hot, Humid Conditions
- Running in the heat: 10 tips to not hate your life - A Foodie Stays Fit
- Hot Weather Running Tips - Road Runners Club of America