Too Hot To Run?

Happy Friday! Are you doing the Friday Dance? No? Just me? Okay…IMG_6318 (800x600)

No dance? How about a “F” for Friday…IMG_6319 (800x600)

We are all out of almond milk so I had to use this chocolate soymilk in my iced coffee this morning. Darn Winking smileIMG_6307 (800x600)

I stalled way too long to get out and run so my 6 miles today was a fail. On days I don’t have to get to work early (I don’t go in until 1pm today) I end up doing blog work in the morning. But, this is messing up my training Sad smile. From now on I’m setting my alarm for 6am and not getting online until after my run. Please hold me to this!

I got this question from reader Mary and wanted to address it here because I get similar questions a lot in the summer…

Hi! I love your blog- literally whenever I’m on the computer out of the 20 blogs I follow I ALWAYS look at yours first and probably check it every second I can haha! I wanted to emal you because when do you think it’s too hot to run outside? I’m going away to nantucket for a week and I want to run on their bike paths but the temps are going to be in the 90s! Have you ever not run because you thought it was too hot- or what do you do to make sure you’re properly hydrated?

IMG_4791 (800x600)When is it too hot to run? <- The answer to this is different for everyone. It depends on many things:

  1. the humidity – Running in humid heat makes it a lot harder for your body to cool off versus dry heat.
  2. if you have a shaded path to run on – Shade and a nice breeze can help you cope with the heat. If you have to run in the heat, find a shaded path.
  3. what kind of climate your body is used to – I basically live in the desert. When I visit Ben’s family in Florida the humidity hits me VERY HARD. I have likened it to swimming underwater. So even though I am fine running in heat, running in humidity kills me.
  4. your hydration level – Drink! And make sure you get enough salt  if you are a heavy sweater. I personally drink a TON and eat a lot of salt since I am sweatier than a whore deadbeat dad in church.
  5. your current fitness level – If you are already fit it make be easier for your body to adjust. Don’t try to bust our your first ever 4 mile run while on vacation in the tropics.

Now you asked if I have ever not run because it was too hot. First off let’s get ish straight – I am ridiculous (but I think a lot of distance runners are). I ran on Marco Island, FL in June. It must have been at least 85 degrees with 99% humidity. Luckily, I didn’t die. But since my body wasn’t used to humidity or the stress of hanging out with my in-laws for a week I took it very easy on myself.

I feel I can run in 90 degree weather because:

  • I am a Southern California girl very comfortable in the heat
  • Have trained for many races over the summer months in the past few years
  • Drink water like a fish. (Also eat salt like an addict.)

Years of running have taught me to know when I need to take a walking break, that I won’t run fast in humidity and getting dehydrated is miserable.IMG_4653 (800x600)

Tips for hot weather running:

  1. Go slow. I’ve read 65 degrees is the ideal running temperature. Think about that before you push yourself when it’s 90! I don’t pay any mind to my speed when I’m running in temps above 80 – especially when it’s humid.
  2. Beat the heat – get up and run as the sun rises, before it has time to heat everything up.
  3. Stay hydrated. Bring water or a sports drink. In California I don’t bring water unless I’m running more than 6 miles. If Florida I take water to walk from the house to the car.
  4. Wear light colors. Use sweat proof sunblock. Expect to sweat a lot.
  5. Stick with shorter runs. There is a reason that there are no half marathons in Florida in the summer = people will die. Harsh, but true. Keep your distance down if you’re running outside or run on a treadmill in an air conditioned gym.                                                                      Heatstroke is real. Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and STOP immediately if you feel any of them: “Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and/or fainting. With heat exhaustion, a person’s skin may feel cool and moist.” From Cool Running

    Finally, I think runners build up a high threshold for pain and discomfort so if you feel too hot or just “off” don’t run. Go with your gut. First and foremost,  enjoy your vacation! You have plenty of time to run when you get back.

Question: When is it too hot for you to run? What are your hot weather running tips?


  1. says

    I live in Arizona, so I’m used to the heat too. In the summer months when the temperatures get up to 110 degrees, I only run in the dark. I run with a group that meets at 6:30 pm. Starting in August, the days get much shorter and it gets dark around 7:00ish. I find that running in shaded paths or in the dark REALLY helps!

  2. Anne says

    I’ve been running several days a week in 100 degree temps with 50-65 percent humidity. It’s not as fun as running in cool weather, but when it’s already above 80 at 6 AM, if you run outside in KS in the summer, it is going to be hot.

    Conditioning helps a lot – I walk on my lunch breaks in the heat on days I don’t run. I’m no superstar runner – but your body can handle a lot if you give it time to adjust. Water, mapping routes to run to MORE water (I do boring loops at a park just so I can hit up the water fountain), shade, etc. are huge helps for me.

    My husband puts a water bottle in the freezer for me to come home to and I slap an ice pack on my head the instant I walk in the door. So far – no heatstroke ; )

    I agree with you that humidity is THE WORST!

  3. says

    I live in Center City Philly, so it’s not always that hot, but the summers are so humid. Especially right now in this intense heat wave. I will get up earlier than usual just to get my runs in. I carry a bottle of water with me AND alter my routes so that I’m doing loops around the neighborhood. That way I’m always passing my apartment in case I need extra water.

    Runner’s World just had a great article about running and racing in the summer heat!,7120,s6-238-267-269-14027-0,00.html

  4. says

    I live in Texas where we are on day 20? 21? of consecutive days that the temperature has been 100 degrees OR HIGHER! My options are 1) run outside at the crack of dawn, like 5 or 6 AM when it is only 85 degrees 2) run on the treadmill and be bored out of my mind. I go crazy running more than 4-5 miles on the treadmill so I guess getting up early is my best option. I also try to hydrate the day before a long run and drink electrolytes during and after my runs.

    • says

      I’m in Texas too and what sucks about it is that it’s SO hot AND SOOOO humid! I definitely have been sticking to the treadmill or getting up at 5 to run – it really does make a difference running in the dark. I also drink a TON of water every single day, that way there’s no chance I’ll be dehydrated!

  5. says

    I’m from Arizona so I’m pretty familiar with hot. It’s definitely way too hot during the day to run, the sun is just too intense so I would run in the early morning or even better, in the evening (not a morning person). now im in cleveland where its SUPER humid right now and i just cant do it. its too hot and humid for me so treadmill it is!

  6. says

    I have a 10 miler planned tomorrow, and I can’t decide if this is encouraging or discouraging-kidding :)

    I plan to be up and out with (if not before) the sun.

  7. Julia says

    Running in Nantucket shouldn’t be too bad because you’ll be close to the water! Go early in the morning and it should be great running weather.

  8. says

    As a FL runner myself, I agree with all the above! I also find that running next to a body of water helps to cool things down. I usually never carry water with me (thank you, water fountains) but I forced myself to yesterday since the 6:00PM temperature was 103 and the humidity was 70%.

  9. Pam says

    Great tips Monica!! :)

    I start my weekday runs @ 6 a.m. long runs at 5:30 a.m. to beat the heat here in SoCal. I never run in the p.m. if I do then it’s on the treadmill. :)

    T.G.I.F.!! :)

  10. says

    Gonna nitpick here. Southern California is not a desert climate. It’s actually a Mediterranean climate. We don’t get the humidity of Florida, but that does not make it a desert… unless you are in the desert out in Palm Springs, Coachella, Indio, etc.

    As for running in heat, I just say you should recognize that it’ll affect on your performance. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The rest of your tips are sound.

  11. says

    My husband and I have been trying to run in preparation for our first 5K…we live in Florida…not on the breezy coast but in Orlando (the dead center of the state). We haven’t run all week because to do so we need gills.

    NO FUN.

  12. says

    We’re having a heat wave here in DC so I’m planning on starting my (18 mile) run at 5 am and filling my camelbak with lots of ice. Plus a shaded course!

  13. says

    Great tips! Im in Arkansas where we have lots and humid weather.. It STINKS!!! Id rather run on the treadmille, which I hate, than run in the heat. But when I must, I basically follow those rules.. Keep it slow, drink plenty and stop and walk if you feel “off”. My runs have suffered terribly from the heat, but Id rather have crappy runs than pass out from heat exhaustion.

  14. says

    I just wrote the other day about how I think that miles are relative when it’s hot and humid. I am in South Georgia and it is hot and very humid. I’m talking 95 and 90% humidity!!! I either get my run in super early and make sure I am hydrated or it just doesn’t happen. I am not willing to die for a run!

  15. says

    This week in CT is the first week I really consider it too hot to run. Our state is in a “state of emergency” with cooling centers open to the public and all kinds of warnings. Normally running extra early (I’m a total early riser so that works out) helps beat a lot of the heat/humidity of the day, but some days – TODAY – it is not doable.

    P.S. I’m totally doing the Friday dance over here!!

  16. says

    Seems like everyone is talking about hot weather running this week! I’ve definitely ran a few times I probably shouldn’t in extreme hot weather (including yesterday)….and also have got some wicked blisters outta the deal. I think if you’re an avid runner, it’s ok, as long as it’s early in the day and not too long.

  17. says

    I have short hair and I find that if it is really really hot outside, it helps to start off my run with wet hair. It may not look the best, but it helps me stay cool for a short while. Also, running in a heavily shaded area like on a forest trail helps out a lot too. Direct sunlight drains you after enough exposure.

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