Tips for Running in the Heat

A runner takes a break to check her heart rate.
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Many Floridians are feeling the peak of the summer heat. For most people it’s an inconvenience, and for others it can be a real danger. For runners, it can be a mixed blessing.

Here’s how to stay safe and make the most out of the summer months for runners.

Staying Hydrated

The most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Runners should always drink a glass of water before running and bring water with them to drink as they go. CamelBaks or similar products are great but a bottle of water works just as well.

With temperatures easily reaching the high 80's even in the morning and with humidity as high as 100 percent, the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion is very real. Try running in the morning or evening hours when temperatures are generally lower than the blazing afternoon heat.

But if your schedule doesn't allow for it and you find yourself having to run in the afternoon sun, you should find a path with shade, make sure you're wearing at least an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen and take regular walking breaks to rehydrate and cool down.

Sports drinks or waters enhanced with electrolytes are also recommended, and if you don't want that much sugar from your sports drink, you can cut it with half water. That way you still get some of the energy and the electrolytes but with fewer calories.

Pay Attention to Your Body

Training in the summer should be less about your pace or times and more about how you feel doing it. Running in high humidity slows runners’ times dramatically and can be very discouraging and frustrating, but don’t let it get you down. Before you know it, the weather will cool in the fall months and your times will be back on track.

As for proper shoes and clothing for running in the Florida heat and humidity, wear well-ventilated shoes with clothing that breathes well and wicks moisture away.

Knowing Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

If you experience the following symptoms you should immediately move to a cooler place, stop exercising and cool down by pouring chilled water over your head, ears, neck and wrists, or use wet cloths, compresses and fanning. If symptoms persist, you may need to seek medical attention.

Watch for:

  • Cool, moist skin
  • Dark urine
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness

If symptoms worsen, seek medical attention immediately by calling 911 (or your local emergency number) right away.

Worsening symptoms can include:

  • Dry, hot, and red skin
  • Extreme confusion
  • Fever (temperature above 104 degrees)
  • Irrational behavior
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Keeping yourself well hydrated, avoiding the highest temperature hours of the day, wearing the right gear and being in tune with your body can keep you running through the summer months with better health and more joy.

And if you need help to support your health and fitness journey, our expert network of care is here to guide you with extra safety measures in place to protect your whole health.

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