With our often unpredictable UK weather, hot days often come as a bit of a surprise. They are also a shock to the system when running; having trained in cooler conditions, our bodies can find it tough to suddenly be asked to run in heat. So, what can we as runners do to cope on the hottest days and ensure that there is minimal negative impact on our running? Here are Mud and miles top suggestions to help you keep your cool.
Run early in the morning or late in the evening if you can, when the air temperature will be cooler, so you will be too. A sunrise or sunset run can capture the best of the day, and a torchlight run in the dark can be great fun in warm weather.
Consider splitting your long run in two. Run the first part in the cooler evening air, then get up and run the rest the next morning. You’ll still get a great training benefit, but without needing to run into the hottest part of the day.
Take water with you; there is a myriad of liquid-carrying devices available. If you don’t want to carry it, then plan a route that passes a place you can get some, perhaps a mountain stream (the faster-moving the water, the cleaner it is likely to be), a village shop or an ice-cream van. You could even stash a bottle or two in a hedge if you plan in advance and top up as you run by. Be careful not to over-hydrate though; drink to thirst.
Wear a cap, hat or buff to keep the sun from your head. Wetting the fabric can help you feel cooler too for a while.
Don’t forget the sunscreen. All-day brands can often be less greasy than regular products and are therefore less likely to run into your eyes and block your pores.
Consider the fabric and colour of your running clothes. Wicking materials will transfer sweat away from your skin and lighter colours will absorb less heat.
Choose your route for maximum shade and breeze; woodland runs are fantastic in hot weather, and the tops of hills and cliffs likely to have more of a cooling breeze. Running on grass will help you keep your cool too as it does not reflect heat like rockier surfaces do.
Run at a slower pace than normal, or walk if you need to. If you start to feel unwell, stop.
Rehydrate and cool down when you have finished. Consider a drink with rehydration salts and stay indoors or in the shade for a while if you can.