How to run during a heatwave when it’s very hot?

Running when it’s hot is more challenging for the body. The runner dehydrates faster and can put themselves in danger if they do not adapt to these extreme conditions during a heatwave. However, with a few adjustments, it is still possible to train in the summer. Let’s look together at the precautions to take.

Choose the coolest hours during the heatwave

Running early in the morning or in the evening is preferable when the thermometer exceeds 25 to 30 degrees. During a heatwave or hot spell, temperatures can already be high at 9 a.m. So, start your run at 7 a.m., it often feels good! You can run in the morning on an empty stomach or with something in your belly. In the evening, you sometimes have to wait until 8 p.m. to find a bit of coolness.

If you want to do a long run of more than 2 hours, you can also split your run into 2 parts. For example, one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening.

If necessary, reduce your pace or the duration of your run. Because sometimes the heat requires adjusting your training.

Stay hydrated to compensate for increased sweating

Normally, it is recommended to drink about 0.5L of water per hour of running. This can go up to 0.8L per hour when it is very hot. Remember to take a flask or a bottle with you when it is hot, and plan for water points along your route. During a heatwave, a belt pouch is preferable to a camelback.

However, be careful not to drink too much (do not exceed 1L per hour). This could lead to hyponatremia: a lack of sodium in the blood plasma.

You can also dampen your face, neck, or forearms.

Choose appropriate clothing for the heatwave

In very hot weather, it can be tempting to run shirtless. However, the sun’s UV rays will increase the heat effect and can cause sunburn.

Prefer technical fabrics and/or light-colored clothing. If you are looking for light and breathable fabric, there is the Bomolet brand. Indeed, Bomolet is a French-made running clothing brand with very lightweight models.

Also, remember to wear a cap (or a bucket hat like François D’Haene) to avoid heatstroke.

Find some cool spots on your route

Depending on your route, it is possible to reduce the feeling of heat. Avoid asphalt during a heatwave. Prefer forest paths or park trails, or run by the sea or a watercourse, which are often cooler.

If at any point you don’t feel well or if you experience heat stroke, nausea, headaches, or turn very red, stop. Find a cool place to recover!

Should you drink a beer for recovery when it’s hot?

The urban legend of the benefits of beer after exercise is persistent 😉. Even if it feels good, alcohol promotes dehydration. Ideally, choose non-alcoholic beer, or make sure to drink plenty of water before having your beer.

Right after exercise, we sometimes tend to drink water or beverages with ice. However, rehydration is better with a drink that is not too cold, between 12 and 14 degrees. Sodas with high sugar content also delay rehydration. Prefer water, mineral water, or sparkling water with a touch of syrup.

Happy training! We hope that with these tips, running during a heatwave will not be a problem for you!

Avatar photo
Mailis Durif-VarambonMailis grew up in the mountains, where she went hiking and biking every weekend. She loves outdoor activities where she can relax at the end of the day. At RunMotion Coach, she is responsible for communication management.