Running in the Heat - How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion

As a runner, you probably know that the summer heat can be dangerous. But how do you know when to avoid running in the heat?

In this article, we'll help you with making the decision, of whether it's safe to run or if you should avoid the heat altogether.

When to Avoid Running in the Heat

When you should avoid running in the heat:

  • 85 Degrees or Higher

85 degrees may not seem or feel hot to you. But it's important to not underestimate the sun's rays. It's just like laying out in the summer on a cloudy day. People may underestimate the intensity of the UV and you can get sunburnt.

So if you decide to go for a run try to avoid routes that constantly expose you to the sun. Take breaks in a shaded area. Run early in the morning or later in the day when temperatures have cooled off a little and the sun's UV index is below 5.

  • 80% Humidity or Higher

Another situation in which you don't want to underestimate the weather is when it's really humid. The additional moisture in the air makes the "feel like" temperature hotter than it actually is. Again, in times like these, consider getting in an early run or waiting till later in the day when things are a little cooler.

  • Acclimate

Over time your body can adapt to the weather conditions but it's important to ease into it. Take hiking Everest for example, you can't make the venture in one straight shot. Your body needs time to adjust to the altitude and low oxygen levels. It's the same for summer runs, your body needs time to adjust to the heat.

If you find yourself having a difficult time acclimating to the heat then take it even slower. If you are uncomfortable consider other options where you can still get in a workout in a more comfortable/tolerable environment.

How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion

  • Hydrate

  • Light Colored Clothes

  • Lightweight Attire

  • Sweat-Wicking Attire

  • Hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Sunscreen

Make sure you drink plenty of water. Don't go into a workout in a dehydrated state. If you are planning on working out outdoors on a hot day, drink water throughout the day, during your workout, and after to replenish lost fluids. Avoid wearing dark clothes, especially black. Wear sweat-wicking clothes and a hat (if you are not a hat person then you may want to opt for sunscreen and maybe sunglasses).

Heat Index: How to Calculate the Heat Index