SD Runners: How do you run in hot weather?

I’ve been running to lose weight for the past couple of months, and finally started taking it seriously enough to set a competitive goal for myself. There’s a 4 mile race coming up soon, and I decided I wanted to do it in less than 35 minutes. No problem there… I ran it in 34:48 last week.

The problem is that when it gets really hot, my performance is dramatically reduced. On weekends, I like to run 5 and 6 miles to build my endurance, but when the weather breaks 90 I find myself completely drained at around 2.5 miles. It doesn’t seem to matter how much water I drink before or during my run… at the 2.5 mile mark, it feels like my legs are about to collapse.

I’d like to keep running through the summer, but it seems like I’m not at all improving. What are the tricks to keep going strong in spite of over 90 weather?

(I feel I should note that I hate waking up early to avoid weather, but will if that’s my only option. Waiting until after dark to run isn’t a good idea because of the neighborhood I live and run in.)

First of all, if you’re doing 4 miles in 34:48 in a non-race situation, then you should set a more challenging goal for race day. Say 32 minutes. When you start getting below 8:00 per mile, you’re starting to move.

Second of all, you just gotta be tough. Run through the heat. Make yourself run longer. Deal with it, build up to it. You’re not going to die. You’re just going to be uncomfortable. When I was training for a marathon (which I was just talking about over in MPIMS) I was doing 13 mile runs in 95+ heat, in almost 100% humidity.

There’s no magic formula. You just gotta do it. Some people like to wear those hip belts with a water bottle. YMMV.

Mostly I just make sure I get plenty of water, don’t kick my ass pace-wise and bull through it. It’s just a “grit your teeth and do it” sort of thing.

Oddly enough, I have an easier time dealing with lots of heat running than walking. At least running, I get a cooling breeze effect.

Definitely have a lot of water. You can get a clip that has a little rubber dongle on it that will hold a bottle of water. You can also get a belt that has a mesh pocket for the same purpose. Definitely have sunglasses and a sweatband, and lots of sunscreen on. Clothes that are meshy fabrics are great for getting air to move to your skin.

I don’t usually run in very hot weather anymore. By the time I’d finally stop my pulse would be pounding in my head so hard it felt like my face was visibly throbbing.

I do try to run as late as practical in the day. Even though the canal I run on is not very dangerous (around Princeton, at least; it gets sketchy if you run down into Trenton), there is no lighting, so sunset is pretty much my limit. I simply count back from sunset.

I put my car in the middle of my run so that I can have lots of cool water/Gatorade waiting for me half way through my run. This is not really the crutch that it might seem for longer runs, as they always have lots of folks handing out cups of both liquids along the way during long races.

As boring as it is, I do use the treadmill at the gym a day or two per week to handle rainy days, really hot days, and days where the schedule is too tight to drive all of the way to the canal.

I am totally sympathetic to your situation – on Sunday I went for a long run in the hot afternoon sun, tried for 16 miles, made 15.5 and couldn’t run a step further. I managed to dehydrate myself and punish myself to the point where I had to go to bed and moan for the rest of the evening. I hope I can figure a way to go longer distances without suffering as much when the summer really gets here.

Drink water but don’t force yourself to choke down liters at a time, just stay hydrated through out the day. I never carry water with me because it’s just such a pain in the butt. If you’re running under an hour, you sould be fine. For rehydrating, I like a sports drink when it’s really hot. Makes me feel better faster. I usually get the powder so I can mix it half strength.

As Trunk and slotar have suggested you’ll just have to kinda “run through it”. You’ll eventually get used it meaning you’ll still feel hot but it won’t totally kick your ass.

Try some gatorade or equivalent at half strength after a couple of miles. I don’t recommend full strength while running, but half strenght goes down OK. You’ll have to experiment a bit. A lot of it is conditioning, you just have to work into it. I usually don’t need anything but water for less than 6 miles, but the humidity is very low here and I try to run before dawn in the summer. I have run in 100+ temperatures and it is exhausting, so I avoid it as much as possible. On longer runs, I use gels and you may want to try one before you start, that might carry you over.

I’ve just started running again after a hiatus caused by being busy, and by my own laziness. The tightening waistband on my pants was the main incentive, and i’ve been back into it for a couple of weeks now.

It’s funny, but if there’s anything likely to entice me out for a run, it’s a humid, 90 degree day. I really love running in hot weather. I agree that it’s good to hydrate regularly during the day if you’re going to run. Gulping down a few glasses just before you go doesn’t seem to work as well, for me anyway.

Since i moved to the US, i’ve found it really hard to run year-round, because i find it too painful running when the temperture is in the twenties or low thirties, as it often is in winter. Sucking all that cold air in hurts my htroat and lungs.In Sydney, where i lived before, even a cold winter’s morning is likely to be in the high forties, making it much easier to run throughout the year.

Look into getting a hat and shirt specifically designed for running. These will be made with special fabrics designed for wicking sweat away (like CoolMax). They will keep you much cooler than a ball cap and a cotton t-shirt. I feel cooler wearing my CoolMax shirt than I do with no shirt at all.

For really hot days, wet your hat and shirt with cold water. That seems to help a bit, too.

Oh yes, couldn’t agree more about the microfiber fabrics. Get some proper running shirts; they are excellent.

I bought a Nike running shirt from a sporting goods place for $35 or so, and I loved it even though I was shocked at the price. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that I could buy quite similar shirts at WalMart for $10-$15.

Get a few, so you always have a fresh one for a run.

Definitely. For some reason microfibers suck up stank like crazy. I love my cool max jog bras but, man, they smell awful after a row/run.

I had a sinking feeling the answer was going to be “suck it up and keep running even though it sucks”.

I wear gym shorts and a regular cotton t-shirt when I run. I underestimated the effect a nice pair of running shoes would have for me (finally buckled and spent some cash… glad I did). Am I making the same mistake with the shirts/shorts?

Wetting down a hat and shirt is a great idea… I’ll give that a shot.

Thanks for the tips everyone. I’ve been running short distances (2 miles or so) for quite a while, but have only been trying for longer distances in the past couple of months. I’m really enjoying it. I didn’t know how much of a mental game you had to play while running… that mental game is quickly becoming my favorite part.

I like my hydration pack. Even though it’s a bit uncomfortable, and it’s kinda hard to suck water through the tube when breathing hard, I find that those small pains are worth it for a cold drink on the run. I fill it with ice before my run, as much can fit. Then I pour gatorade into it. The ice melts pretty quickly, but really stays pretty cool. And it has the side benefit of watering down the gatorade.

It would suck if all I ever ran was two miles. That’s the shitiest part of the run. You don’t even get to enjoy the second wind.

Yes–definately shell out for a good pair of running shorts (emphasis on ‘short’) and a shirt, they make a huge difference.

I’m thinking I want to start running, what do you mean by this?

Well, for me, my first mile is the worst part of my run. It’s when my legs are stiff and I’m not in my rythym yet. I have to play little mental games with myself to get past that first mile, like I think to myself “what’s wrong with you? You’re not tired yet! You just started! You’ve gone 6 times this distance before!” Around the 3rd and 4th mile when I start getting tired, I think to myself “No, you’re not more tired than when you first started. It’s easier now. Don’t be a pussy. Just keep running.” When I’m running with people, it’s even better. “You don’t want that guy thinking you’re a wuss, right? Shoulders back! Is that guy ahead of me fatter than me? He can’t be running faster then!”

Maybe I’m the only one who thinks stuff like that when he runs, but I doubt it. It would be awfully boring if you didn’t.

I’ll pick up a couple pairs on my way home from work. Thanks for the advice.

Drink water before running.

Wear a hat w/ brim to keep the sun off your face.

Well, for me at least, sometimes the pain or fatigue that comes with running is literally something that can be overcome by force of will.

For example, there’s a certain spot on my run where i nearly always begin to lose power and speed. There’s no particular reason for this to happen at that particular spot, because once i get past that spot i can run freely again. So i find that every time i get to that place i have to make a conscious effort not to slow to a crawl.

Also, i like to use my running time as a sort of meditation or thinking time. I just let my mind go, let it think about whatever takes its fancy, and on the occasions when this works well i find i can go for considerable distances without even really realizing how fast i’m going, or how hard my body is working.

I’m not sure if that’s the sort of thing that wasson was talking about, because this sort of thing varies for different people, but for most people there is a considerable amount of mental work involved in this sort of exercise.

One caveat: while it’s true that you can often “run through” a stitch or fatigue, you also need to pay attention to your body. Don’t take this idea too far, because if your body is starting to hurt there’s a reason for it. Don’t overdo it.

And, on preivew, i also often have a similar problem to wasson at the start of my run. I feel uncoordinated and out of rhythm, and it takes some effort to get into stride.

Running, cycling, swimming. . .anything you’re doing solitary like that for a long period of time has a mental aspect to it.

I think in the simplest terms. . .you’re willfully doing something stressful to your body and your conscious mind knows that you’d be more comfortable not doing it.

It’s a struggle to get onto the road. It’s a struggle to go further and not turn back once you’re out there. It’s a struggle to make yourself work harder so that you get faster. When you start doing long distances, there’s a boredom struggle.

Lots of mental aspects to running. Other’s probably have a different spin on the mental aspect.

When I did long distances, I used to lose whole chunks of time where I couldn’t remember having gone through the previous miles. I’ve never gotten that feeling from anything else. Maybe driving across Wyoming, but I only did that twice.

When I was just starting out, I used to set mental goals for myself. Like I wouldn’t walk until I hit the third light post. And once I got there, I’d see if I could make it to the next one.