Runners are Hot: Staying hydrated and running when the temperatures rise

You’re starting to sweat and you haven’t even started running yet.It’s hot. Summer is fast approaching and good old, Mr. Sun is making his appearance. It doesn’t feel like long ago you were suited up in full running tights, long-sleeves, and gloves and now you’re donning a sports bra, shorts, and still feel over-dressed.

runner tired

The heat will zap your energy...

Heat is a touch competitor, and if you’ve been following any of the Boston Marathon buzz it was getting rather toasty over there for those runners. When there had been talk of World Records being set weeks ago that tune started changing when weather conditions started to become a factor. A little ironic being that this was the 30 year anniversary of the epic race between running greats Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley, rightly coined the ‘Duel in the Sun’, where a combination of heat and an all out racing effort changed both runners forever.

The thing about racing in tough conditions is that EVERYONE is effected, so while you’re suffering so is everyone else. However, getting acclimated to such stressors will greatly improve your ability to perform in them. As excruciating as it may be to even think about, that’s why before the Beijing Olympics some top athletes went running at the hottest time of the day and donned full sweats or sauna suits. They also would weigh themselves before and after to see how much fluid they lost due to sweat and made sure to replace that; it’s 16 ounces (2 cups) of water and electrolyte containing drinks you need to drink for every pound of body weight lost.

Dehydration is dangerous and crippling performance wise, but it works against you not just on THAT day but it’s also a cumulative thing. You need to be consistently hydrating yourself every day; if you never drink enough and then pound a ton of water the day of your race it really isn’t going to be doing you any favors. (A side note, you could actually end up over-hydrating which can be just as dangerous if your electrolyte balances become too low.)

We’ve all heard that fun little pee-test scenario, you want your urine to be as clear as possible not bright yellow.

runner at beach

On those days you wish you were at the beach so you could jump in the water...

For every day training, when summer comes along I’ll admit to not being all too stoked to head out in 110 degree weather for my run. I get all salt crusty and come back looking like I’ve been out swimming, true story I’ve been asked that before. 😛

Best things I try to do during those hot summer days:

* Less is more. I long ago got over being afraid to don just a sports bra and shorts, it’s not worth suffering. I even envy the guys who can go on full-shirtless style…lol.

* Go early or go late. Don’t run during the hottest time of the day if you can avoid it. Unless you’re racing at that time and trying to get acclimated, be safe and do yourself a favor and catch the cooler temps if you can.

* Drink like a fish. Not of the alcoholic variety, duh, but make sure especially during these times you’re extra conscious of your fluid intake. That’s both water and electrolyte containing drinks. If you have to, weight yourself before and after a run to see how much you’re sweating out just in that run.

* Toting hydration.I don’t normally run with a water bottle but if you’re going out in extreme conditions or for long workouts think about that option. If you’re at the track grab some sips between intervals or if you’re on a run you can make planned stops where you know drinking fountains are.


Be prepared if you know race day is going to be toasty.

For races you know you’re going to be in hot conditions:

* Seek shade.Heat isn’t just energy zapping while you’re running but also if you’re just standing or sitting in the sun for hours on end. Try to stay in the shade, or inside, as long as you can prior to your race.

* Know your body and your distance. Everyone is able to handle heat less or better than the next person, know if heat is your krytonite and be smart. The longer you distance is the more you may want to hit up those drink stations. You may also need to reassess your racing plan or goal time.

* Double don’t go out to fast. Heat slows times and it will also exponentially kick you in the butt if you go out faster than you should in a race or any run for that matter. Go out conservative if you know it’s a scorcher.

* Training simulation. Getting back to becoming accustomed to racing conditions, you may be well off to take measures prior to your big race to get acclimated to those conditions. You don’t necessarily have to strap on a sauna suit, but do some of your runs and workouts at the same time as your race will be and at the same temps you’ll be racing at.

* Still warm-up. Don’t skip a warm-up just because it’s hot and you think you’re warm enough already…that’s not smart. Do your same routine, go a little slower if you have to, but still get your body primed and ready to run fast for your event.

We can’t control the conditions outside but we should take measures to best prepare ourselves to sweating it out in them. On that one, let’s raise a water-bottle in a toast to getting toasty. 🙂

1) Do you like running or working out in the heat or cold more?
I’m a weenie, I like running in ideal weather all the time. 😉

2) What do you run in on really hot days?

3) If you know it’s going to be really hot for you run or your race what do you do to prep for it?

4) Do you pee clear? 😉 Actually, are you really good about being hydrated?
I do and I am.

5) If you hit up the gym do you like to have a fan blasting on you?
A necessity, I wish I could hire one of those big ones they use for photo shoots sometimes. 🙂

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17 thoughts on “Runners are Hot: Staying hydrated and running when the temperatures rise

  1. Having just got through an Australian summer, I fully relate to this post! I hate running in the heat and try to exercise early to miss the worst of it. I also drink a loooot of water – but it’s still hard managing the sweating / heat factor sometimes. I don’t run in a sports bra only either because I get sunburnt pretty easily, but do have some super lightweight tops 🙂 Great suggestions here!

    • even tho i hate the heat i’d love to visit Australia sometime!! 🙂 aww, yea the burn factor is a tricky one, but glad u’ve got those light, breathable tops 🙂

  2. lol @#1. I prefer to run in perfect temps year round too. I need to move where the weather is around 60-70 and sunny every day of the year. I started to hydrate for my half marathon Saturday. Freaky weather is 50 and rainy today with Saturday being 84 and sunny. This summer I will run in tanks and running skirts with a hat, sunglasses and lots of sunscreen. Or will just run in front of a fan on the treadmill. 🙂

  3. I actually like the heat. This past summer I’d run right in the middle of the day to get reallly used to the heat. I usually run in the most minimal amount of clothing possible.
    I run in the middle of the day if the race is going to be hot. And actually your pee shouldn’t be clear (I’ve always thought this too) A sports nutritionist told me it should be like a lemondae color, if it’s clear you’re overhydrated.
    I love fans on me at the gym but not entirely necessary.

    • girl, u’re cray-cray for seeking the heat out…jk! 🙂 actually props, u’re one of those awesome runners who are able to kick butt even in the heat…i’m just jealous!

  4. oh man. the heat is so tough. im amazed at how everyone battled and conquered it in Boston. the St. George Marathon was in the 90s last October and I was like swearing off running in the heat forever after that one. guess thats kinda not possible…but it was brutal. i felt like my mind and all controllable functioning was totally zapped. now i carry a water bottle with me and try to head out super early but sometimes in the races there is no choice. i started taking salt pills and being sure to take advantage of ALL aid stations regardless of thirst at the time. this was a great post idea…i dont think im ready for the summer running yet. spring is good 😉

    • yea, i got a big jumpstart on the summer thing, sorry i’m way early…lol. the Boston thing just made me think of it. but man, the GA marathon, i’m thinking it wasn’t just a nasty hot 90 but also some humidity to factor in!! u’re a beast!!! 🙂

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