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Running in the heat

Running in the heat


The combination of outside temperatures of 90 degrees and above coupled with high humidity generally provides the setting for heat-related stress and illness.

Consider beating the heat with these suggestions:

  • Try to do your run and outdoor exercise in the morning or evening so you avoid that hottest part of the day. Early morning is the most tranquil part of the day – give it a try once and see if you like it.
  • Wear loose-fitting and light colored clothing and drink plenty of water.
  • Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
  • Watch your head. Don’t forget to wear a hat, but make it a loose-fitting mesh or breathable material. Your body loses a lot of heat through your head but the covering helps to protect your scalp, ears and face. 
  • If you’ve just started your outdoor running, since you have been training in a gym, take it slow. Start your run at reduced pace as your body adapts to the summer heat. 
  • One suggestion is to run on a path near water. Sometimes it is cooler or breezier there. Sometimes the sight of a body of water may trick you into feeling cooler.
  • Bringing water with you is an absolute must. Suggestions include using a water pouch or holster for bottles. If you don’t want to invest in these, a person does get used to carrying a bottle of water. Another idea is to go out the night before your run in your car and hide bottles of water along the path.
  • Start at a swimming pool and then shower and jump in when you get back. 
  • Choose your hydration wisely. If what you are drinking is diuretic (causes increased urine output), it could cause unsafe conditions when you are also sweating in the hot sun. Eliminate caffeinated and alcoholic beverages to limit your risk of dehydration.
  • Don’t expect to do your best in the high heat. You will not be able to run as fast as you would on a cool day. Drop back to a training run speed and keep up with the water drinks. 
  • Pay attention to heat warnings. If it’s too hot, it’s too hot. Resort to inside treadmills or training in the pool.

Stop and seek out a cool building and a cold pack for your head and neck area if you have any of the following signs: headache, fever, profuse sweating, nausea, clammy skin.

If accompanied by disorientation, fever of 104 degrees or more, nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse and/or muscle twitching, seek immediate medical treatment. 

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