Tips for Running in the Heat and Preventing Dehydration

With the summer months come heat, humidity, and dehydration. Listed below are some tips to stay safe while running in the heat and to prevent dehydration.

  1. Avoid Wearing Cotton: Cotton soaks up sweat, causes the material stick to your skin, and promotes body heat buildup. Several different materials wick perspiration away from your skin, with "CoolMax" being the most popular. Wicking fabrics are designed to create a cooling effect as moisture is pulled away from the skin.
  2. Wear Sunscreen: Direct sunlight will drain your energy especially if given the chance to burn your skin. Run in the shade when possible to avoid direct sun and scorching pavement. Also, wear a hat or visor to shade your eyes and face from the sun.
  3. Take time to adapt to the heat: Allow your body a week or two to get used to the heat. If hot weather starts suddenly, do shorter runs and gradually build up your endurance to pre-heatwave distances.
  4. Run in the cooler parts of the day: Run before sunrise or after sunset. If you do run when there isn't much light out, make sure to wear clothing that is reflective or wear a bright safety light to help others spot you.
  5. Stay hydrated: Drinking adequate fluids is important all the time (pre-run, while running, and post-run). Fluids, especially water, are very important when running in the heat. The longer the distance the more fluids a runner will lose. Plan your running routes to go by a water fountain, or take time to place water out on the course before you start your run. Other ways to stay hydrated and cool during a run is take water/fluids with you on your run (i.e. fuel belt) and to pour water over your head at different intervals. Post run, it's equally important to continue to drink to keep your body hydrated.
  6. Utilize Sports Drinks: Runners should also be aware of a reduction in electrolytes along with a loss of sodium through increased sweating. Loss of electrolytes/sodium is especially critical for those running more than 60 minutes. There are several sports drinks on the market that can help replenish the loss of electrolytes and sodium. Make sure and try one or more of the well-known brands (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade, AllSport, etc.).