How To Run In The Summer – 5 Tips To Cope With The Heat

July 07, 2016 Posted By: Mizuno USA

Guest post by: Jared Beckstrand, DPT


There’s nothing like the peak of running season. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, the roads and trails are in prime condition, and races are in abundance. There’s nothing quite like the sun on your face, the road under your shoes, and heading out wherever your feet may take you. Unfortunately, the summer months also bring with them a lot of heat; heat that can sideline your running just as fast as any running injury. Well don’t let the heat get in the way of your running goals this year! Today we’ll discuss five essential tips to help you beat the summer heat while you’re out running and help you stay out on the run all season long.

As you run, your body temperature increases. The increased temperatures outdoors combined with this increase in your body temperature put you at increased risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke is a condition when the body loses its ability to regulate temperature under hot conditions. That being said, it is vital that you take the steps necessary to help you avoid overheating. Here are 5 important tips that will help you regulate your body temperature and avoid the negative effects that could accompany hot weather running:


  1. Stay hydrated: You should drink water, drink water, and then drink more water when running in the summer! Before you start your run it’s a good idea to drink some water. Try to drink approximately 8 ounces about 15 minutes before your run. You should also carry a water bottle or some sort of hydration so you can drink at least 8 ounces for every hour you run. Then at the conclusion of your run drink at least another 8 ounces. Staying hydrated is one of the simplest and best ways to avoid heat exhaustion.


  1. Avoid midday heat wherever possible: Try to run early in the morning or late at night so as to avoid the hottest part of the day. If, for whatever reason, you have to run at a hotter time, try to choose a route with shady streets and multiple water stops. Parks, schools, and forest trails are all great options!


  1. Be especially aware of abnormalities: People are usually pretty good at preparing for “typical” running conditions; it’s when abnormalities are present (increased temperature outside, increased humidity, harder/faster/longer training, etc) that people can get into trouble. Train yourself to recognize atypical training conditions and make adjustments as necessary (run at a different time of the day, drink more water, choose a different route, etc).


  1. Know the signs of heat illness and listen to your body: Headache, dizziness, nausea, and higher perceived exertion (things are “harder” than they usually are) are all early signs of heat exhaustion. If you experience any of these signs, you should STOP immediately. Unlike simply getting winded or slowing down a bit on a longer run, heat effects are not something that you can simply “power through”. Find some shade, get a lot of water, and focus on bringing your body levels back to normal.


  1. On hot days, lower your expectations: It’s simple physiology that you most likely won’t be able to run as fast when it’s hot as you can when it’s cooler. Your energy is diverted from faster times and increased pace to temperature regulation and keeping body heat within a normal range. That means your body focuses less on increasing speed and more on keeping all your systems a go. Going into a race or a run with this expectation will keep you from pushing too hard too fast and help you to avoid over-heating.


Staying cool through the hot days is imperative to running success. Following these 5 tips can keep you cool, help you avoid heat injury, and ensure you enjoy a long, memorable running season!



Beckstrand_2013_48Jared Beckstrand, Doctor of Physical Therapy, who specializes in exercise prescription. He loves being active and seeing his patients become more active and get into shape. He is also the Blogger at Tone and Tighten, LLC


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