All runners know the feeling. You’re on your daily jog but the weather is hotter than you expected. The sun is beating down on you and sweat is building up.
Even though you love running, you hate the heat that comes with an outdoor jog.
Just because the temperature is closing in at three digits, doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and do what you love most.
You can soak up the sun and fresh air while preventing heat stroke and exhaustion. If running on the treadmill isn’t your thing, you need to follow careful advice when running outdoors.
Here’s how to prevent overheating while running.
This should be a runner’s golden rule.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going out for a brisk jog or training for a 10k race. And it doesn’t matter if you’re running in 95-degree weather or running on the treadmill in air conditioning. You still need to stay hydrated.
While you’re running, you lose your hydration in the form of sweat. When you sweat, you need to replace your body’s hydration.
Before you start running, drink plenty of water. Bring a water bottle while you’re on your run and sip it as you’re running. After you run, make sure you also drink plenty of water.
What happens if you don’t drink enough water while running? First, you will experience a loss of performance.
When you run while hydrated, you’re able to cover long distances and have enough strength to conquer any challenges on your run. You can climb up steep hills, run at a fast pace, and your endurance can last for miles.
But when you run while dehydrated, you’ll feel fatigued and overheated. And there’s a reason why. Cells need water to synthesize energy. Your heart will have a difficult time pumping blood. All of this can cause adverse effects, such as heat stroke.
But what about sports drinks? Supplements and workout beverages are extremely popular in the fitness community.
If you substitute extra water for an athletic beverage, make sure it has electrolytes.
Electrolytes regulate your body’s hydration. While taking a big container of coconut water on your run may seem like a good idea, it’s best to drink electrolyte-rich beverages after a workout.
Run During the Cooler Times of the Day
There’s no rule that says you need to run at the hottest part of the day. But many runners usually run when the sun is out and beating UV rays on joggers.
Why is that? It could be better for your schedule or maybe you enjoy running while the sun is out.
But changing your run time can be the biggest impact in preventing overheating and exhaustion.
Running at Night
So what are the coolest parts of the day? You probably already know the answer – when the sun goes down. Go out for your run during the evening and night instead of during the day.
You’ll also experience more wind and cooler air during the night. This breeze feels good while running.
But running at night poses challenges. Your sight is diminished and this is exacerbated if you’re running in a dimly lit area or in an area with no streetlights.
This is why the early evening is also a good alternative; the sun is at its coolest point, you’ll still experience a nice breeze, and the sun will shine just enough light to illuminate your run.
Running In the Morning
Do you prefer running as early as possible? Choose the time right before the sun rises or as the sun is rising. The sun hasn’t fully risen but it’s just starting to peak. This gives a similar experience to running in the evening.
What Time Should You Run? (And When You Shouldn’t.)
If you’re a morning runner, plan your run for 7:30 AM. If you’re an evening runner, plan your run for 7 PM.
Now that you know the time to run, you should know the time to never run. Avoid running between noon and three or four. This is when the sun is at its peak. It’s by far the hottest part of the day.
With this being said, all places have different weather and temperature changes. Make sure you check the weather and temperature before going out on your run.
The more clothes you’re wearing, the more heat is insulating. While you may feel exposed, dressing light and wearing less clothing will help prevent overheating.
Surprisingly, many runners don’t follow this rule. The myth is sweating a lot means a good workout and you should wear long-sleeves and heat-insulated clothing.
This clothing might be beneficial if you go to the gym – not while running outside.
All sweat does is release hydration. You’ll feel hot, exhausted, sweaty, and you’re further increasing your risk of heat stroke.
Another reason why runners dress more conservatively is being they’re out in the open. Wearing a sports bra and short shorts isn’t weird at the gym – but it might be in your neighborhood.
So what should you wear? You don’t have to completely bare your skin. But wear lightweight or ventilated fabric.
Nylon-based fitness clothing is still the best option. Nylon is breathable and helps absorb sweat. It’s also flexible enough to move with your body. Nylon is more expensive than other materials such as cotton, but it’s worth it.
Polyester is also a great option. This material is one most fitness clothes are made of. Polyester is lightweight and absorbs sweat. Polyester also repeals UV rays. Unfortunately, it doesn’t dry as quickly and absorbs sweat as well as nylon.
Other great fabric options into polypropylene and spandex. If you’re an eco-friendly runner, look for clothing made of Tencel and bamboo.
What type of clothing should you wear? As mentioned previously, there’s no reason to bare all.
But less is more in this situation. Avoid long yoga pants – shorts or capris are your best option. Stick to a tank top or short sleeves and bare your arms.
Wear light colors are much as possible. Darker colors attract UV rays.
Eat a Good Meal
While you don’t want to go to the all-you-can-eat buffet before you start running, you need to have something in your stomach. But the food you choose should contribute to your hydration.
Fruit and veggies are your best option. These foods are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that will aid you on your run. But fruits and veggies are also high sources of water content.
Go to the grocery store and grab plenty of watermelons, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, oranges, raspberries, cucumber, lettuce, celery, and spinach.
You’ll also want plenty of carbs and protein before your workout. The extra calories will serve as fuel for your run. This is the energy your cells synthesize and why you need to hydrate.
Examples include quinoa, chickpeas, oatmeal, cheese, yogurt, nuts, fish, avocado, a smoothie, eggs, cereal, protein bar, and applesauce.
Worst Come to Worst – Run Inside
Do you avoid the gym and treadmills at all cost? While running outside has the same purpose and saves you money from an expensive gym membership, you should always have a second option.
Even with the right preparation, clothing, and even running at cooler parts of the day, this may not be enough to prevent a heat stroke. The hot weather will also affect your performance; you’ll feel sweaty, sluggish, and constantly thirsty.
Buy a treadmill and keep that as an option. If you want to avoid a monthly gym membership, find free gyms in your area. Many apartment and condo complexes include a gym. If you’re a student, there’s likely a gym on campus.
There are also cheaper gym options, such as at your local rec center. And maybe the popular gym near your house allows daily passes without a membership.
Listen to Your Body
It’s easy to want to push yourself on your run. Maybe you’ve been slacking, you want to shed some extra pounds, or you’re training for a race. But you have to listen to your body.
If it’s too hot outside and you feel sluggish, don’t force yourself to complete your run.
Don’t feel discouraged or upset if you need to take a break or stop your run altogether. There’s a reason your body tells you to stop – your body is protecting itself from overheating and even heat stroke.
If you still feel discouraged when you stop a run, take a break and finish your run later in the day. Or go back home and run on your treadmill or go to the gym instead.
Feeling fatigue is normal when exercising, but stop when you experience extreme fatigue. When you can’t run anymore, stop. You should also stop if you start feeling dizzy or sick.
Prevent Overheating While Running
Do you go outside to run but immediately feel a heat wave attacking you? There are ways to prevent overheating while running. One of them is to join an indoor cardio class.
We offer different high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes and even offer nutrition advice. Take a look at our class schedule.