How to run a race in heat

If you’ve put your name down for a summer time race, you know you’re likely to be running in warm temperatures. Don’t worry – everyone is running in the same heat, so you won’t be at a completely unique disadvantage. There are plenty of ways to keep yourself cool and give yourself the edge.


Keep up the water

It almost goes without saying, but make sure you stay well hydrated. Start in the days before the race by taking in additional fluids. Top up before the race but don’t overdo it. Stay hydrated on the run by taking small sips and don’t forget to add electrolyte supplements to combat the extra perspiration.


Keep the sun off your skin

Running in heat can lead to some pretty rough sunburn if you don’t take care to cover yourself up. Wear light coloured, long sleeves made from wicking materials. If you can find clothes with mesh or vents, all the better. Wear a high-quality sunscreen, and add a visor and sunglasses.


Keep cool with extra water

If you have access to water stations along the way, grab one cup to drink and another to pour over yourself. The water will evaporate as you run, helping to cool you down further. Don’t hesitate to slow down at water stations to make sure you get what you need.


Change your race plan

Running in heat is likely to make the race more difficult. Don’t try to ignore the conditions – adapt to them instead. Hot weather running is almost guaranteed to slow you down, as much as 20-30 seconds per mile. Start slow and steady at the beginning of the race, and save your energy for a strong finish.


What to watch out for


If you don’t take care of yourself during the race there is a lot that can go wrong. Dehydration can lead to fainting, due to electrolyte imbalances. Heat stress can develop into heat stroke – identifiable by a raised body temperature of over 104 degrees, nausea, vomiting or headaches. It’s tempting when combatting hot weather running to drink too much water. Manage your intake or you can flush the salts from your body too quickly, leading to a condition called hyponatremia. This can be fatal, so don’t overdo it.


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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.

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