13 Tips for Safely Running in Hot Weather

March 5, 2024

Nick Hancock
man running on the beach in hot weather

Running is a year-round activity, but exercising in hot conditions poses unique challenges. With summer heat and humidity, runners face increased risks of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses.

Pushing yourself in hot weather can impact your health, endurance, and running goals if you don’t take proper precautions. However, with the right strategies and preparation, you can safely accomplish your cold weather running aspirations, despite confronting those hot, muggy days in the UK!

Here's some actionable tips to help you stay safe while running in hot weather. From hydration guidelines to protecting yourself from heat stroke, adjusting your pace for heat, and choosing more tolerable running routes, here are some key techniques for summertime training. Implement these strategies for running effectively and responsibly even when temperatures peak!

1. Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is critical when running in hot weather during the summer months. The high temperatures cause increased sweat and fluid loss from your body, which can quickly lead to dehydration if not replenished. A study published in the European Journal of Sport Science in 2014 found that dehydration of just 2% of body weight can significantly reduce running performance in hot environments (Source).

Aim to drink about 16-20 ounces of water in the 2-3 hours leading up to your run. During the run, moisture wicking clothing can help evaporate sweat, cooling your body. Bring water if your route lasts over 30 minutes and take small, frequent sips every 15-20 minutes. For runs lasting over an hour, sports drinks with electrolytes can help replace what you lose through sweat.

After finishing, rehydrate by drinking 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during the run to restore fluids and electrolytes vital for performance. Monitoring your hydration status through measures like body weight and urine color is also recommended during hot weather running.

Woman running in grass with city skyline in background.

2. Wear Appropriate Clothing

Choosing the right clothing is key to running safely in hot weather and preventing heavy sweating. Opt for loose, lightweight, breathable fabrics in light colours that won’t absorb heat from the sun like dark colours. Technical fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin and dry quickly are ideal for hot days. Tank tops and shorts allow for ventilation, while hats and sunglasses shield you from the sun.

You may need to experiment with different fabrics and layers for different temperatures and humidity levels. Try a few combinations of moisture-wicking base layers and looser shirts on top during your run. As you heat up, you can easily shed outer layers.

Having options to tie layers around your waist or stash them in a running belt gives flexibility to adapt to changing conditions during summer runs. Finding the sweet spot for clothing will help maximize comfort and prevent overheating on sweltering runs.

3. Protect Your Skin

When running in hot weather, it’s critical to protect your skin from the blazing sun to help avoid heat related illnesses. Apply broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen 30 minutes before you head out in order to allow it to fully absorb. Choose sweat-resistant formulas labelled waterproof or extreme that are specifically designed for activity in the heat.

In addition to sunscreen, wear a vented hat, sunglasses and UPF clothing that shields skin from UV rays while preventing overheating. It's also smart to seek shady routes during peak sun hours when possible.

Protecting yourself from the sun’s intense rays will help you stay safer, healthier and able to keep logging summer miles.

A woman running through the enchanting woods in summer.

4. Time Your Runs Wisely

Carefully timing your runs is vital for safely exercising in extreme heat. When possible, plan runs for early morning or late evening hours when temperatures are coolest. Avoid midday hours between 10am to 3pm when heat levels typically peak in UK summertime.

Check weather apps and be willing to adjust your running routine if an unexpected heat wave occurs. Look out for the heat index, which measures what the temp feels like factoring in humidity.

Scheduling runs earlier or later ensures you can still fit in miles without overtaxing yourself in sweltering temps or disrupting sleep. Smart scheduling will let you reap the physical and mental benefits of running while reducing health risks the summer sun’s most intense rays can bring.

5. Listen to Your Body

When running in hot conditions, it’s critical to listen to your body and spot early warning signs of heat-related illness! Whilst you may feel strong for pushing on through discomfort, you need to pay attention to signals like headache, nausea, and excessive fatigue which can indicate your core temperature and heart rate are spiking.

Monitoring your pace is key, as a sluggish pace despite high perceived effort can signify overheating. Heat tolerance varies, so understand your body's ability to manage increased temperature and high humidity. Don't ignore symptoms or try to push through - a high body temperature threatens your safety.

Be prepared to cut any run short if you feel faint, confused or your heart is racing as these are common signs of heat stroke. Stay in tune with your levels of energy and discomfort by running with a partner or smart device with alerts. Recognizing problematic symptoms right away can prevent dangerous outcomes in hot conditions.

Woman running on beach at sunset, golden sky and waves in background.

6. Plan Your Route with Shade

When hot weather running, strategically planning your running route to maximise shade can help you avoid sweltering in direct sunlight.

Plot your outward journey for times when lengthy stretches of shade along the path correspond with peak sun hours. If you find yourself overheating in unshielded spots, adjust your route to tread ground already covered that offers better shelter from the hot temperatures until you pass areas lacking protection.

If your favourite running route doesn't feature much shade, consider running in the dark or at night instead!

7. Adjust Your Pace

When running in the heat, adjusting your pace is vital to performing safely and avoiding overheating. In hotter weather, slow down your summer running pace by 30-90 seconds per mile compared to your pace in cooler conditions.

The heat places excess strain on your cardiovascular system, so maintaining your regular pace could lead to heat cramps, exhaustion or other impairments. Save faster paces for short speed intervals earlier in your run if you’re training.

Pace yourself conservatively, taking walking breaks as needed rather than pushing uninterrupted. Let your body dictate what feels sustainable, not what watches or training plans say. Maintaining a sensible, doable exertion level will help you achieve fitness gains while continuing safe, effective summer running.

A person sprinting on the sandy shore by the beautiful ocean on a sunny day.

8. Cool Down Properly

Just as important as warming up, an effective cool-down helps safely conclude running in the heat. After your workout, bring your pace to walking level for 5-10 minutes to gradually lower body temperature and heart rate. Loosening muscles aids recovery and circulation.

Get indoors and do some light stretching to retain mobility. Remember to cool your core by drinking cold water or splashing with cool water if feeling discomfort.

Monitor sensations for one to two hours post-exercise as air temperature and humid conditions can delay feelings of strain. Proactively counteracting your high core temperature following summer workouts reduces the taxing impact of heat and speeds the body’s return to equilibrium.

9. Stay Informed of the Weather

Checking weather forecasts and heat index readings should become part of your standard pre-run routine when training in hot conditions. Monitoring metrics like temperature, humidity level, and sun exposure allow you to gauge if conditions are suitable for outdoor exercise or favour alternative options.

While forecasts offer general guidance, also assess real-time conditions before heading out!

A runner running on a beach at sunset.

10. Fuel Your Body

Properly fueling before, during and after hot weather runs helps maintain energy levels and offset fluid lost sweating. We've already talked about hydrating properly, but food is equally important. Before heading out, eat easily digested carbs and protein such as:

  • Toast with banana and nut butter
  • Oatmeal with berries
  • Greek yoghurt with granola and fruit
  • Energy bar (choose one with low fat and fibre)

Carry a water bottle to sip 3-6 ounces every 20 minutes mid-run. Replace sodium and minerals lost by sweat with sports drinks or electrolyte tablets in water. After finishing, rehydrate and restore muscle glycogen within 30 minutes using chocolate milk, recovery shakes, or whole-grain toast with eggs.

Adjust fat and protein intake if runs exceed 90 minutes. Avoid alcohol post-run as this promotes further dehydration. Listen to your body and fine-tune nutrition to maximize gains during heat training while preventing depletion that could precipitate heat stroke or other heat illnesses.

11. Run with a Buddy

Having a trusted running buddy can prove invaluable when logging miles in sweltering conditions. Partner up with someone well-matched in pace, stamina and heat tolerance so neither hold the other back. Alternatively, experienced local runners you meet through clubs like road runners clubs can provide wisdom for the area's best routes and tips for thriving despite the climate.

A running buddy will keep you honest about heat safety - they'll notice concerning symptoms you dismiss or ensure you carry emergency cash/ID. If you must train solo, protect yourself by fully charging your phone, sticking to populated paths, filing your route online, wearing a safety ID or smartwatch with alerts. No matter what, listen to your body over all else!

Adjust plans or even walk-jog with anyone you meet along paths rather than continuing high exertion alone if feeling off.

Group of people jogging on the beach with waves in the background.

12. Post-Run Recovery

Just as vital as preparation, instituting a proper recovery routine following hot weather runs helps restore the body and avoid latent impacts of heat exposure. Cool down stretches promote blood flow to taxed muscles. Hydrate with 16-24 oz of fluid for every pound lost through sweat to stabilize fluid balance.

Refuel spent muscles with nutrient-dense foods and anti-inflammatory elements like tart cherries. Apply ice packs to the neck, chest, armpits and groin to efficiently lower core temperature after intense efforts. Consider compression gear, Epsom salt baths, massage, and extra sleep to address accumulated fatigue during summer training cycles or heat waves.

Finally, understant how you felt at different exertion levels to inform appropriate pacing adjustments for future hot days. Deliberate rest and aftercare reduces injury risk, optimizes gains made through strenuous heat running and helps determine adaption needed to continue safe, effective training when temperatures peak.


Running in hot, humid conditions places greater physiological demands on the body, requiring smart preparation, caution and flexibility to prevent injury, illness or underperformance.

By implementing tips like hydrating properly before, during and after runs, wearing light moisture-wicking fabrics, applying ample sunscreen, running during cooler hours, targeting shaded routes, adjusting paces downward, listening to warning signs from your body, running with a partner and actively cooling post-workout, you can continue to rack up miles and make gains safely when the mercury climbs.

While the heat introduces extra challenges, adopting a careful, informed approach allows you to harness the beauty and satisfaction of running even on the most blazing summer day. We hope these hot weather running tips equip you to respond wisely to both moderate and extreme heat spikes. Listen to your body above all else, and enjoy the run!

By following these tips, you can conquer the heat and keep your summer training on track. Let an expert online running coach create a personal training plan that helps you reach your running goals, no matter the temperature!

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