When It’s Too Hot to Run

Anyone who runs knows how brutal a hot summer’s day can be. I’ve encountered minor roadblocks, but it was not until my full marathon training that I realized I needed to step up my preparation.

I was in the middle of training for my first full marathon when a heat wave hit Toronto. At the time, my long runs had me travelling 20km or more, so it was a telling sign when I struggled to finish a shorter run. One of my 16km runs ended with me blinded by sweat and moving way slower than I was capable of going. With the forecast predicting the similar weather for the next while, I needed to do something about it. I was worried that a longer run in this heat could jeopardize my marathon goal, or worse my health.

Number one on my list was protecting my eyes. Having sun in my eyes wasn’t much of an issue as I could typically map my run to face away from it as much as possible. What I needed was to keep the sweat from trickling into my eyes since I was sweating a lot more during the summer heat. I looked into several headbands but eventually settled on a Buff® due to it’s versatility and absorbance, keeping my eyes free from the stinging salt of my sweat.

One problem taken care of, one to go!

Next I had to try to avoid the sun and humidity as much as possible. It was important to deal with the extra sweat, but I knew I had to find a way to reduce it as much as possible as well. I had 2 options – run at dawn or run at dusk. I first decided to try running after the sun had set because I’m a night owl. After a few trial and error runs I found that evening runs were cooler, but the humidity still hung in the air. This lead me to occasionally cut runs short – not ideal.

I was then forced to go against my body’s habits and wake up before the sun did. I woke up at least an hour before sunrise to make sure that I could have a light breakfast and time to digest before running with the sunrise. After only one morning run, I knew this was the best course of action. The air hung with a slight chill and not humidity.

running at dawn - beautiful and calm

Perfect running weather.

Something I never considered when heading out early was how beautiful and calm the world is when the sun is barely touching everything. Absolutely motivating when all you can think about is sleep at 5am.

Another bonus to morning runs was managing to get half marathon+ distances accomplished before I went into work. This made me feel a bit like a warrior when I walked into the office, having accomplished huge runs before anyone had even gotten up for the day.

Those morning runs worked great for my training schedule; no missed or shortened runs due to fear of heat exhaustion. It was rough learning how to deal with running in hot and humid conditions, but you can’t let a little heat get in the way of your running goals.

Stay cool.

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Eric

Eric

An aspirational runner who has been at it since 2013. Eric started this site to help those like him find the information they need to get started.

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