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Warm Weather Running: The Survival Strategies

It’s June 1! (The best month of the year…mine and Brandon’s birthday month! :)). June also signals the arrival of summer. We have a whole summer of hot runs ahead of us. My last post was about gear for warm weather running and today’s post is about survival strategies to deal with the heat.

The key to successful warm weather running is preparation and attitude. It can be easy to give up on running during the summer in the same way that it’s tempting to bail on cold weather runs due to temperature and conditions but with the proper gear, mindset and strategies you can successfully run through the summer.

The most attractive running photo EVER. Here are my tips for enjoying summer runs.

Become an early morning runner.
This one seems like a no brainer but I’ve been known to attempt running in the heat of a 100 degree day and that’s just no fun. Beat the heat by embracing early morning runs. This is especially critical for those of us who are trying to get long runs in. The earlier you can get out on the road, the better. If you’re not typically an early morning exerciser, it can be a bit of a challenge to transition to morning runs but it just takes time for your body to adjust to a new schedule. Check out my post with tips on how to work out in the morning.

Another no-brainer but I just want to reiterate that when temperatures are in the 80s and above, I won’t run for more than 30 minutes without wearing a hydration belt. It’s also important to hydrate before and after your runs and to replace electrolytes when you are sweating heavily. Hydration is a serious must for warm weather running. I ran an eight miler in afternoon heat a couple of summers ago and didn’t hydrate properly. I ended up nauseous, shaky and with a horrible headache for the rest of the day and it was not fun.

One trick to see if you’re hydrating properly is to weigh yourself before and after a run. If the number on the scale goes down after your run, you need to up your fluid intake. You’re aiming for your weight to stay the same.

Protect you skin.
I apply sunblock to my face every single day. I am not so good at remembering to apply it to my whole body when I’m heading out for a run. Slather on sunblock formulated for sports before running to protect your skin from the strong summer sun and also to avoid the attractive shorts tan lines. 😉


Cool off.
It’s hard to say how many random front yards I have run through in order to cool off in sprinklers. I have no shame! Friend and fellow runner Jen shared a story yesterday of how she was so determined to do a 16-mile long run outside last summer that she ran loops around her neighborhood and stopped every few miles to jump in a cold shower. Have access to a pool? Jump in as soon as you finish! I planned some of my runs to end at the Y last summer so I could jump in the pool after. Do whatcha gotta do!

Be positive and have fun.
Get your game face on and know that running through diverse conditions is just one more thing that makes runners tough and awesome. Mix up your normal running routes and plan new routes on shady streets. Maybe take your runs off-road and check out trails that offer tree cover and a break from heat of city streets and exhaust from cars.

If all else fails, utilize the treadmill.
I really, really dislike the treadmill but even I have to cry uncle sometimes when it’s just too hot, cold or rainy. When I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon last summer, I would run as many miles outside as I could stand before moving to the treadmill. Coming in to the air conditioned gym definitely gave me the boost I needed to finish my long runs strong.

Good luck and have fun out there! What are your long run survival strategies? I know I’m not the only sprinkler dasher! 😉

{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Tracy June 1, 2011, 10:29 pm

    I always planned my long runs so I could loop by my house and chug a gatorade/go to the bathroom! It was absolutely necessary. And wear a hat!


  • Sara June 1, 2011, 10:35 pm

    After reading your running post this morning, I wore a hat when I ran outside today. I had never worn one before, but it definitely helped keep me cooler! Great tip!

    • Jen June 2, 2011, 12:30 pm

      awesome! glad it worked for you. i love that it keeps my hair out of my face and the sweat from dripping down into my ears when i’m listening to music! 🙂

  • Holly @ Pink Runner June 1, 2011, 10:36 pm

    I jump in the pool after my morning run in the summer!!

  • Sana June 1, 2011, 11:12 pm

    Yeahh, I need to become an early morning runner… no more running at 2 pm….

  • Becky June 2, 2011, 6:53 am

    I definitely think the treadmill is a very valuable training tool when the weather makes running unsafe. I try to wake up early to do my runs outside, but if all else fails, I’m grateful to have a place to run.

    • Jen June 2, 2011, 12:31 pm

      i totally agree with you becky. i always listen to my body and even if i start my run outside i will move indoors when i begin to get overheated.

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) June 2, 2011, 8:33 am

    Love the sunblock tip! I’m an avid sunscreen wearer, too. I have a family history of melanoma and got freaked out by the studis that show runners are more likely to get melanoma (due to increased time spent outdoors).

    • Jen June 2, 2011, 12:32 pm

      yikes! that is scary!

  • Kristy@RunTheLongRoad June 2, 2011, 8:36 am

    I love running through sprinklers!

    Early AM runs are a must! If you are lacking motivation to get up that early think of how hot it will be later on and how miserable your run will be. That usually is enough to make me get out of bed!

  • Jen W June 2, 2011, 8:55 am

    Glad to know I’m not the only one running through sprinklers! Getting up early is painful, but necessary. How long did it take you to adjust to waking up early? It’s been 3 weeks-ish and I’m still struggling!

    • Jen June 2, 2011, 12:37 pm

      jen – it took several months for me to become “okay” with early morning workouts and honestly it’s only been over the past year that i’ve become really consistent with it. it just takes time to reprogram your body but now i love morning workouts and would never give them up!

  • Erin Y June 2, 2011, 9:06 am

    Last summer I beat the DC heat and humidity by running at 5am. It wasn’t easy to get up that early, but it felt great to get it out of the way. Even stuck with it all winter!

    • Jen June 2, 2011, 12:35 pm

      that is awesome erin!!!

  • erin June 2, 2011, 9:18 am

    I’m trying to transition to early morning running. It’s not going so well, but I’m not giving up yet! Thanks for the tips.

    • Erin Y June 2, 2011, 10:46 am

      I think the important thing to do is to keep it consistent. If you get up early every day or at least most days then you naturally start going to bed earlier too which makes your morning workout easier. If you vary it every day and go to bed too late then morning workouts are hell. I use to hate morning workout and now I love getting them out of the way.

      • Whitney June 2, 2011, 12:00 pm

        Agreed. I just started running at 5am to avoid the heat and while it was brutal the first couple of mornings it is so much easier now that my body is used to it! I love having my evening to do whatever! 🙂

  • Becca B June 2, 2011, 9:37 am

    fact: i murdered my ipod last summer by hanging out a little too long in sprinkler when i was dying of heat overload and thirst (more than likely before 9 am! Memphis is HOT!)! whoops!!

    • Jen June 2, 2011, 12:35 pm

      becca – my ipod bit the bullet last summer when it was drowned in a pool of my sweat during a tough speed workout at a track.

      gotta love summer in the south!

  • Pam @ June 2, 2011, 9:46 am

    Thanks for linking to your post from last year of tips on how to work out in the morning. This is something I’m currently struggling with and need all the help that I can get!

    • Jen June 2, 2011, 12:34 pm

      you are so welcome! the biggest tip is just to stick with it. it WILL get easier!

  • stephanie June 2, 2011, 10:21 am

    I make use of the treadmill on thos super hot days. I’ve also become an early morning runner too. it’s so nice to get out and run at 5:30am before work!

    And no, you are not the only sprinkler dasher! I love that part of summer running!

    • Jen June 2, 2011, 12:33 pm

      love that i have fellow sprinkler dashers! it’s a great feeling to get your run done before work! and i love how quiet the streets are in the morning. very peaceful.

  • kat June 2, 2011, 11:04 am

    OK, OK, I’m getting there. 😉 Ran this morning (although not super early b/c this is my go-to-work-late-day) and it was nice. Still really hot and humid, but way more bearable than running after work. I’m working on enjoying my runs AND morning workouts in general. I think my goal with my time off this summer will be to start working out first thing, and then transition to earlier and earlier times in preparation for returning to work in August…we’ll see how that goes. Thanks for these warm weather tips, I need them!! 🙂

    • Jen June 2, 2011, 12:33 pm

      yay for progress kat!!! 😉

  • Anne June 2, 2011, 3:51 pm

    You mentioned Gatorade in your last post… I would suggest looking into the powered version. It is easier to control the concentration and more cost effective. I use it for long bike rides and runs.

    • Jen June 3, 2011, 11:01 am

      anne – thank you so much for the tip!

  • Hollie June 2, 2011, 8:36 pm

    Just went for 5 miles this afternoon in the heat… not too fun! I looked about like you in that first pic. ; )

    • Jen June 3, 2011, 11:01 am

      awesome hollie! are you training for anything?

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