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The Ultimate Guide to Stay Cool While Running in Hot Weather: Hydration and Cooling Strategies

Today I was shocked by how hot it was. With summer fast approaching I did some research on tips for running in the heat.

  • Keep hydrated before, during and after your run

  • Get cool before your run

  • Wear appropriate clothing

  • Run when the sun is low

  • Start slow

  • Listen to your body

Running in hot weather can be a challenge for many runners. It is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous. Whether you are training for a race or just trying to stay in shape during the summer months, it is important to learn how to run in the heat safely.

Lets take a look at the best practices for running in hot weather and how to beat the heat and keep running strong all summer long.

Why Running in the Heat Can Be Challenging

Before we dive into the tips for running in the heat, let’s take a moment to look at why it can be so challenging.

When you run in hot weather, your body works harder to maintain a safe temperature. This means that your heart rate will be higher, and you will be sweating more to keep yourself cool. This will mean you will become dehydrated faster which can impact your performance and overall health.

Hydration Strategies for Running in the Heat

One of the most important things of running in the heat is staying hydrated. I make sure I have a water bottle or water source lose by when I go running.

The Importance of Hydration

When running in the heat, your body loses water through sweat at a much faster rate than it would normally. This means it is very important to drink enough water to replace the water lost during your run.

Hydration Strategies for Runners

To stay hydrated while running in hot weather, it is important to drink water regularly throughout the day, not just during your run. Aim to drink at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water each day and more if you plan on running or engaging in other physical activities.

Before your run, drink at least 16 ounces (2 cups) of water to ensure that your body is properly hydrated. During your run, carry a water bottle with you and sip on water regularly.

Understanding Sweat and How It Works

Sweating is a natural process that helps manage your body temperature. When the body heats up, sweat glands release sweat onto the skin, which then evaporates and cools the body down. In hot and humid weather conditions, sweat does not evaporate as quickly which can lead to an increased risk of dehydration and overheating.

Cooling Strategies for Runners

To deal with the effects of hot weather on the body, you can use various cooling strategies to stay comfortable and safe while running. Let’s look at some Pre-run cooling, during-run cooling, and post-run cooling strategies to keep you cool in the hot weather.

Pre-Run Cooling Techniques

Before your run, take steps to cool your body down to help prevent overheating. One effective technique is to take a cool shower or bath before your run. This will help lower your core body temperature and reduce the risk of overheating. My preferred method is to apply a cold compress to the back of your neck, wrists, and ankles. This will help cool the blood and reduce your overall body temperature.

During-Run Cooling Techniques

During your run, there are many ways you can stay cool and comfortable. One effective method in extreme circumstances is to pour cold water over your head and neck to bring your body temperature down and prevent overheating. This will also give you a burst of energy and keep you going. You can also wear a cooling towel or use a spray bottle to mist yourself with water during your run.

Another during-run cooling technique is to wear light-colored, moisture-wicking clothing that allows for maximum airflow. Avoid tight-fitting clothing, as this can trap heat and moisture close to your body and make you feel hotter.

Post-Run Cooling Techniques

After your run, take steps to cool down and recover. One effective technique is to take a cool shower or bath to help lower your body temperature and reduce muscle inflammation. You can also, drink cold water or eat a cold snack.

Choosing the Right Running Gear

It is important to choose the right running gear when running in hot weather. Look for lightweight, breathable materials that allow for maximum airflow and sweat-wicking properties to help keep you cool and dry. You should also choose light-coloured clothing, as darker colours absorb heat and can make you feel even hotter. You should also, consider wearing a hat to protect your face, eyes and possibly your neck from the sun. Sunglasses may be a good option for you to reduce glare and protect your eyes from the sun.

What you wear when you run in the heat can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel.

Tips for Running in Hot Weather

To make the most of your runs in hot weather, you should consider the following tips:

  • Plan your runs for early morning or late evening, when temperatures are typically cooler

  • Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays

  • Start slow and gradually build up your pace and distance to avoid overheating

  • Listen to your body and take breaks as needed to rest and rehydrate

Best Time of Day for Running in the Heat

When the weather gets hotter you should try to run in the coolest parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. This will help you avoid the hottest temperatures and make your run more comfortable. If you must run during the middle of the day, be sure to take extra precautions to stay cool and hydrated.

Protect Yourself from The Sun When Running

If it is very hot, you should wear sunscreen to protect your skin. The sun can cause sunburn, premature aging, and even skin cancer. Make sure to use at least factor 30 and replace it every 2 hours.

Adjusting Your Pace for Running in the Heat

When you run in the heat, you should adjust your pace to avoid overexerting yourself. Your body is working harder to maintain a safe temperature, which means that your perceived effort will be higher than it would be in cooler weather. To avoid burning out too quickly, slow down your pace and focus on maintaining a steady effort level. This may mean that you run slower than you are used to.

Listen to Your Body and Take Breaks When Needed

When you run in conditions you are not used to, you should listen to your body and take breaks and rehydrate. Your body may struggle to keep up with the demands of your workout. If you start to feel lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous, it is important to take a break and rehydrate. Find a cool, shaded area to rest, and drink plenty of water. Don't push yourself to the point of exhaustion or heat stroke. Remember, it is better to take a break and resume your workout when you are feeling better than to risk injury or illness by pushing through discomfort.

The Benefits of Running in Hot Weather

While running in hot weather can be a challenge, it also offers some unique benefits. When your body sweats, it releases toxins and other impurities, helping to cleanse your body and improve overall health.

Running in hot weather can also improve your endurance and stamina, as your body learns to adapt to the heat and becomes more efficient at regulating body temperature.

Potential Risks of Running in Hot Weather

Even with the best preparation, it is possible that you may experience some negative effects from running in the heat.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both serious conditions that can occur when you become too hot and dehydrated. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and headache. Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness. If you experience any of these symptoms you should stop and rest in a cool, shaded area. Drink plenty of water and get medical attention if your symptoms persist.


Running in hot weather can be a challenging experience, but with the right hydration and cooling methods, proper running gear and planning, you should be able to stay cool and safe while enjoying your runs.

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