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Running in the Heat

Elvis Elvis

I feel very uncomfortable running in the heat and I take that as a signal to slow down. After all, running is supposed to make you feel fabulous!

As I’m writing this it’s almost July, it’s not even nine in the morning and the temperature is already 30 degrees Celsius (close to 90 Fahrenheit). I got up before seven. Down by the beach there was tiny breeze, which made it bearable to run. But still, I find I need to take walking breaks because I otherwise get too hot. Once I told myself that it’s OK to take it easy when it’s so hot I started enjoying running in the heat!

I believe a common mistake many of us do when we start working out, whether it’s running or anything else, is that we don’t schedule the workout sessions and we don’t reschedule when something comes up. Instead we just drop the work out all together!

Heat, or extreme cold or very bad weather for that sake, is one of the times when you might need to reschedule. In the summer, guests come later to my restaurant, I work later and sleep later. I need to get up really early, before it gets too hot if I’m going to run, but I also need to have had enough sleep! Which means that when it’s this hot I make sure to go early to bed on the night we are closed so I can get up very early at least once a week.

Running in the Heat

Here are some tips for running in the heat:

  • Water, water and water! Never ever go for a run without a huge bottle of water. Though icecold water is tempting on a hot day, you’ll probably feel much more comfortable drinking water that has tap temperature. I find I drink more than a litre during a 45 minutes run. If you don’t like to carry the bottle with you leave it in the car or under a tree and make short rounds where you get back to your drinking station to fill up or even throw some over your head. There are also loads of water carry systems on the marked – from belts with a water bottle pocket to rucksacks with long straws so you can sip constantly while running in the heat.
  • Run early morning or very late afternoon. Here in Greece, people are heat smart: They get up really early to get things done before it gets too hot, then have a nice long siesta after lunch – that means that you can do with less hours of sleep in the night. And remember, it’s not only the heat, it’s also the sun! I never wear a cream as I believe it’s fake security – I try to avoid the sun on the most intense hours instead. Wear a cap and sun glasses.
  • Try a cooler location. Search for shade. Shady streets, a park or a forest. Or run inside, using a treadmill.
  • Listen to your body! When I hear stories about people who drop dead during a run because they are dehydrated and overheated I can almost not believe it. Your body is sending out plenty of warning signals – a feeling of thirst, discomfort, headache. You should stop long before you get to that! This is not the time to train for a marathon!
  • Take it easy. The heat will pass, so don’t be too ambitious in this period. Don’t be afraid to fall behind – even if that happens, so what? Take walking breaks. If it really is too hot to run go for a walk instead, or even better – a swim. You’ll catch up when the temperature drops. Remember – you run to have FUN!