Running in the Summer Heat

Running in the heat is something to be taken seriously! There is a lot to keep in mind while you continue to run during the summer months.

You cannot run as fast when the temperature rises above 60F/14C. If you slow down 30 seconds a mile for every 5F increase above 60F, you can be the one who is finishing strong and passing other runners at the end. For every second you run too fast during the first half of a race on a hot day, expect to run approximately 10 seconds slower at the end.

Whether you are running on race day or simply heading out for a routine run, here are some thing to remember.

  • Run in the early morning or late evening if possible when the temps are cooler.
  • Don’t wear a hat! Most of the body heat you can lose is lost through the top of your head. Switch to a visor in the warmer weather or where nothing at all.
  • Wear light clothing, but not cotton. Many of the new, technical fibers will move moisture away from your skin, producing a cooling effect.
  • Wear loose fitting garments, that have some texture in the fabric.
  • Pour water over your head. Evaporation not only helps the cooling process—it makes you feel cooler. Carry a fitness belt with water on race day for cooling off between water stations.
  • Sunscreen—a mixed review. Some runners will need to protect themselves – check with your doctor. Some products produce a coating on the skin, slowing down the perspiration, resulting in a body temperature increase. Be sure to do your research if you choose to wear sunscreen while out for a run.
  • Slow down by 30 sec/mile for every 5 degree temperature increase above 60F. So, if your average pace is a 10 min/mile and the temperature is 70F, your adjusted running pace should be an 11 min/mile.

Heat Disease Alert! If you or anyone around you is becoming disoriented, vomiting or experiencing diarrhea, get medical help immediately.