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Top 5 Hot Weather Running Tips

If you’re thinking of heading out into the Phoenix sunshine in ten minutes, and you figured maybe you should Google ‘hot weather running’ before you started running seven-minute miles out there, then this section is for you. Don’t worry – I won’t take up much of your time!


  1. You will get tired, and you will want to sit, crouch, hang your head or even lay down. DON’T. If you’re running on pavement, the low heat reflectivity means that it absorbs heat and stores it. In Death Valley, the surface temperature can exceed a mind-boggling 200F. The temperature at head height, on the other hand, is a relatively balmy 125F. Since heat exhaustion has a lot to do with the temperature of the brain, the closer you put it to the pavement, the more danger you are in. So if you need to rest, try and find some shade and walk around a little, slowly and with your head held high.
  2. .

  3. Perhaps you’re the type of runner who doesn’t need to replenish the water they lose through sweat particularly often. Or, more to the point, perhaps you were. Not now. As a hot weather athlete, you must learn – right now – that hydration is far, far more important in extreme temperatures. You need to drink double, perhaps triple, what you would on a regular run, and you should carry more than you’ll probably need (as the Boy Scouts suggest: be prepared). You’ll probably make it through the first mile or two just fine, but after that remember that blood thickens as you lose liquid, a condition known as polycythemia. This increases the stress on your heart, and can lead to pulmonary embolism and lung problems, whilst your brain can suffer dizziness and confusion. So – drink, and drink often. Ideally you should take regular small mouthfuls, adding up to around 4-8oz of water per mile.
  4. .

  5. Slow down, there cowgirl! Running in the heat is exhausting. Essentially, exercising and extreme temperatures make the same demands on your body (particularly blood and oxygen), meaning that one of those demands is likely to go unsatisfied. When you’re running, the body shifts blood and oxygen to the muscles. When you’re overheated, it shifts them to the skin to help with the cooling process. If you’re running at a normal pace in the heat, the body will not keep up. That means you need to slow the workrate of the muscles, giving yourself the chance to use some of that blood for cooling. And slowing the workrate means slowing down. Capisch?
  6. .

  7. No matter how many times you’ve read The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, be aware that it doesn’t have a patch on The Loneliness of the Exhausted Heat Runner. Lost, dazed, hobbling on an ankle, out of water – these can happen and if they do, you need a way out of the blistering heat that got you into this. That means telling someone where you’re going, when you expect to be back, and when to call emergency services. Once you’ve done that, stick to the plan. It may sound melodramatic to talk of life and death situations, but extreme heat running should be treated the same way as any other extreme sport: it has the potential to kill you, and for your own safety you should take unusual precautions.
  8. .

  9. After all these dire warnings, I should mention one more thing: enjoy yourself. The run will likely involve pain, suffering, even hallucinations. It will also likely involve moments of euphoria as the scenery inspires you or an endorphin rush kicks in. Take frequent rests to simply survey your environment and revel in your achievement. It’s hard to do this when you’re pounding the pavement and thinking only of how far you have left to go, but surely it’s the reason we do this in the first place?


Thanks for reading, I hope you found this useful. Happy trails, and stay safe!

Jon Rice
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  1. Thanks. Thanks for posting this. Its always cool to see someone give back to the community.

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