With temperatures hitting above 30 in the Capital, you might be wondering – is it safe to go for a run?
Running in the heat is considered an effective training method for all disciplines of athletics. This is because when it is hot, your muscles get less oxygen and therefore are less efficient. But by training more and more in the heat, the muscles adapt and become more efficient.
It’s just a shame we don’t have consistently high temperatures in London.
That being said, you don’t need hot weather to raise your body temperature. Plenty of athletes train in long sleeves and hoodies to keep their body temperatures high.
But running in the heat does come with some health warnings.
Here’s our five point list to get the most out of the hot weather in safe way:
1. Stay hydrated
It’s a no brainier. If you run in the heat, you have to work harder to keep yourself hydrated. But it’s important not to overemphasize the importance of hydration (see Waterlogged by Dr. Tim Noakes). Unless you’re running more than 75-90 minutes, you probably don’t need to take any water with you – but it wont harm to have a small bottle just in case. Alternatively, plan your run around fountains or other sources of free water. Drink well throughout the day and plenty after the run, but pace yourself.
If you are drinking a lot of water, it’s vital to balance this with salts. So consider drinking an electrolyte drink (Lucozade, Powerade etc.) as well.
2. Listen to your body
When heat and humidity start to creep ever higher, it’s best to slow down. Listen to your body and take a break in the shade if you need it.
3. Run early (or late)
There’s no perfect time to run in the heat of summer. But the early morning hours offer the lowest temperatures and a break from the strongest hours of sunlight (even though the humidity will be at its highest). Failing that, run in the late evening as the sun is going down. Avoid running at midday.
4. Take care of your clothes and skin
Darker colors will only absorb more of that heat, so wear light colors and chose a fabric that is breathable and light. Avoid cotton and go for polyester instead. Chances are, you wont be wearing many clothes anyway, so make sure you have some sun lotion on to avoid burning.
5. Avoid the roads
Asphalt and concrete absorb heat and radiate it back up at you. Furthermore, there is less shade along pavements and the streets are likely to be busy with people searching for sun. Head to a park and run on grass under the trees.