Running In The Heat

For anyone in the Northern half of the world, Summer is here. The Dubai heat and humidity has kicked in and I keep looking at peoples' Strava runs and ‘feels like 48’, ‘96% humidity’ at 6:30 AM is now a common sight. People might not pick summer as their favourite season to run outside in Dubai with the winter months falling into favour, but the summer heat has A LOT going for it.  Here are some top tips for running in the heat.

  1. Adapt the training:  You will not be able to hit the same level of intensity as you could do in the cooler climates or as the barometer rises in the morning.  Paces will need to reduce, you will not need to run for as long, you will need to train earlier in the morning.  If you get towards the end of a session and still feel good, its ok to push a little harder but you don’t want to smoke yourself from the beginning.
  2. Hydrate:  Seems obvious but you WILL sweat more during and post exercise.  Your body is working in overdrive to try to keep you cool.  Make sure you are well hydrated the night before a run and pre-run.  Adding electrolytes to your hydration will be essential.  Don’t know how much you sweat in a run? – try this.  Weigh yourself before and after running (naked if possible), factor in differences from urination and water taken whilst running. The difference will be your sweat rate.  You will probably be shocked at how much you lost – I dropped 1.5kg in the UK on an easy 60mins. Rehydrate with 1.5x the amount lost.  A 1kg loss = 1litre of hydration.  
  3. It takes time:  If you are new to running its going to take 7-14 days to acclimatise to the heat.  Start small and gradually increase your run time and intensity.  Your body will learn to adapt by sweating less, dropping your Hr and decreasing your core temperature.
  4. Ditch the brunch:  Alcohol has a dehydrating effect so whilst going for a morning after run post ‘sesh’ may help you ‘sweat it out’ you are doing more harm than good.  Drink less, hydrate more and be prepared to take a rest day if you do go out and have one to many.
  5. Prepare:  Sunburn, chafe, blisters are all more common in the hot weather and prevention is better than cure.  Wear a high factor sunscreen. Invest in a decent pair of seamless undershorts /sports bra that fit well to combat the dreaded inner thigh and underarm chafe.  Applying body glide pre-run to these areas can also help.  If you are still unlucky enough to chafe, sudocrem is fantastic to apply to the area post run and I always keep a tub in my cool box just in case.
  6. Mindset:  We are all in the same position, its hot for everybody and we all suffer the same.  Remember that you choose to run, its fantastic!  If you prepare and approach the sessions with a winning attitude, then you will enjoy them much more.  If you start a run moaning that it’s too hot and humid guess what?  You’re not going to have fun. 

To run in the heat, you need to prepare a little better, recover a little harder and adjust a few protocols but it can be done and be done very well.  Stay safe, be sensible and keep on running. I look forward to seeing you out there on the tarmac or in the trails! 

If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a DM @robjonesendurance or an Email rj@innerfight.com

By: Coach Rob Jones, Performance Coach