Is It Good to Go Running in The Heat?

14th January 2019
Some runners may wonder if there are any benefits or drawbacks of running in the heat. In this article we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of this practice.

During the summer months, many people wonder if they should stop running due to high temperatures. In this article, we’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of running in the heat. Additionally, we will give you a few tips to stay safe.

Beginners may have more difficulty than experienced runners when attempting to run long distances in the heat. Usually, people tend to reduce the intensity, distances, and times when it’s hot outside. It’s important to pay close attention to your hydration and the temperature.

Furthermore, there are certain risks of running when it’s hot outside. Among the most common, there’s dehydration, muscular cramps, excessive sweating, and heat strokes. However, you can avoid these by just taking a few factors into consideration. These are drinking enough fluids and avoiding extreme temperatures.

Running in the shade may help you reduce the risks of running when it's hot outside

The advantages of running when it’s hot outside

Running in the heat may not be easy for everyone. However, this practice may improve your running skills and help you to become a better athlete. Below we will discuss a few ways that this happens.

  • More blood to the skin and less blood to the muscles can help you to handle the temperature.
  • With less oxygenated blood available for the muscles, the body boosts production of new blood.
  • Improving temperature control.
  • You start sweating sooner in order to regulate body temperature.
  • Sweat contains less salt, allowing you to maintain more electrolytes with a balanced diet and adequate hydration.

The disadvantages of running in the heat

The body reacts in certain ways to high temperatures. Among those reactions, there are some dangers to consider, here are the most important ones:

  • Running when it’s hot outside causes muscular spasms. In turn, these are caused by the rapid loss of electrolytes and fluids in sweat. This can still happen hours after you’ve finished running.
  • Dehydration is more common in higher temperatures. Maintain your hydration sufficiently with electrolytes and water.
  • Heat exhaustion is common among novice runners. If this happens, make sure you stop the activity, go to a cooler place and drink lots of water.
  • Heat stroke is one of the most serious consequences of running when it’s hot outside without the proper preparation. Its symptoms include disorientation, confusion, loss of balance and sweating. This requires immediate medical attention.
  • Your performance may be impaired. It’s possible that you won’t be able to run the same distances with the same intensity as you would in cooler temperatures.
Running in the heat requires certain preparation

Tips for running in the heat

Knowing the benefits of running when it’s hot outside means you may want to try it. However, now that we know the risks of doing this activity, here are some tips to stay safe.

1. Know your limits

Running in the heat is a great way to understand the signs your body gives you when exercising. Doing this will allow you to leave behind the physical goals and run depending on how much your body can take. In the heat, you won’t be able to run as much or at least not at the same speed.

2. Avoid extremely high temperatures

There are two ways to reduce the risks of running in the heat. One way is choosing to run during the cooler hours of the day. Run when the sun’s rays are not as intense.

On the other hand, you can also choose a terrain that is not as hot. Asphalt tends to absorb heat from the sun and radiate it back to you. Thus, we recommend you choose a path in the shade without an asphalt floor. This, however, might affect your performance due to the surface.

3. Stay hydrated

Lastly, don’t forget to drink enough fluids before, during and after exercise. This is especially true when it’s hot outside. And so, make sure you always have some water with you and avoid any type of dehydration.

Staying hydrated is very important when running in the heat

Finally, remember that running when it’s hot outside can be dangerous if certain precautions are not taken. Beginners should pay close attention to risks, as they are more prone to them. Therefore, try to stay hydrated, run during the cooler hours, and always use sunblock.