Tips for Hot Weather Running

It’s racing season! And it’s HOT out. This is the kind of weather when I get back from my run and the sweat is literally dripping off me. When I first started racing, summer rolled around and I wasn’t prepared for the huge effect the heat and humidity has on running performance. Our bodies have evolved to protect themselves, so when it heats up outside and you’re trying to push yourself, your body sends signals to the brain that enough is enough. Paces get slower, easy runs seem harder and PRs? Forget it.

Don’t worry, though, running friends, getting out and running during the summer will lead to some massive fitness gains for the fall. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself as I clock super slow miles in my return to running postpartum, working my way back to half marathon shape for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon in October.

It doesn’t have to be a miserable, sweaty, humid slog though – here are my best tips for hot weather running:

Tips for Hot Weather Running - Don’t give up on running when the weather turns hot and summer kicks in! These tips and tricks will have you staying cool all summer long. Hot weather hacks for training, racing and running for fun and fitness. Whether you’re a beginner runner, or a pro, check out these running tips for the heat. |running| |running tips|


  • Hats and sunglasses are a lifesaver. Experiment with both during training. Hats double as shade and sweat bands, and bonus – you can wet them to keep your head cool.
  • Wear light colored clothing for reflective purposes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, sweat wicking clothing. If you’ve ever experience chafing, you already know to skip anything cotton. OUCH.
  • Find a shady place to run – trail running is great for the summer, since trails are usually shaded. If you can’t run trails, find running paths near you with a shaded area, or stick to a time of day when you know you’ll get some relief.
  • Your best bet is to time your run for the coolest time of day. That may mean getting up before the sun, before the temperatures rise. In less humid climates, an evening run in the summer could be the way to go.
  • Acclimate to the heat. As soon as it starts heating up, scale back on your pace, mileage or both for your first few hot weather runs, then build back up slowly. Get your body used to the new conditions, rather than starting out running like it’s still those perfect cool temperatures of early Spring.
  • Carry water with you, or utilize fountains along your route. You can take a frozen bottle to thaw as you run when it’s ridiculously hot. If you can’t deal with carrying a bottle in your hand, try out fuel belts or even a CamelBak.
  • PRE-hydrate. Drink some water before you head out on a morning run, or if you’re an afternoon or evening runner, make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.
  • Sunscreen is imperative. If you’re going to be out for a long time, pack sunscreen wipes or a small tube to reapply. Don’t forget your lips! Make sure your lip balm has SPF as well.
  • Try the bandanna trick – wrap some ice cubes in a bandanna, then tie it around your neck. I haven’t personally tried this, but apparently the ice melts way slower than you’d think, so it keeps you cool for a long time.
  • Refueling after you run can be tough if you’re feeling nauseous from the summer heat – but don’t skip it, even if you’re feeling blah. Can’t stomach food? Try low fat chocolate milk, a sports drink, or a smoothie to replenish carbs and protein.


  • If you’re training for a summer race, try to schedule a few long runs or tempo training runs for the time of day you’ll be racing. Usually this is early morning in summer, but be aware there’s a big temperature and humidity difference between 6am and 8am, for example. Yes, this contradicts the advice to use the coolest time of day to run, but if your race conditions will be hot, you need to train for that.
  • Respect your body when you’re pacing your training runs. Don’t overheat yourself trying to stick to a planned pace if it’s brutally hot out – if you’re training in summer, you’re most likely racing in cooler fall weather, so if your training runs are a little slower, it probably won’t impact your race time too much.
  • Likewise, don’t beat yourself up if your training seems slow or you’re struggling when training during the hot weather. It seems harder because it is harder – so your body is adapting and you will see the fitness gains come the cooler weather.
  • When you’re training during summer, it’s a great time to experiment with fuel. You’ll need more than water to replenish your lost salt and electrolytes during long runs or any kind of tempo or speed session in the summer – if you try different fuels and find one that works for you during the summer, your future fall racing self will thank you.
  • Remember, it’s okay to head to the treadmill if the conditions are too hot outdoors.


  • Be practical with PR quests during the summer. If your best 10K time was in March and you want to try to beat it in July…you may be chasing an unrealistic goal. Unless your training, nutrition and preparation have dramatically improved since a cold-weather PR, chasing it in the heat of summer usually leads to disappointment. This was a big lesson I learned early on when racing – you know, in the first few months of running races when nearly every race is a new best time. Then the dead of summer came along. Ouch. You’ve just got to suck up some slower times occasionally.
  • Listen to your body – if you are thirsty, don’t run past the water station – even if there’s only a mile left, if you are thirsty, stop and drink!
  • Don’t skip your warm up. You may not need as long a warm-up as you do during cooler weather, but don’t think that just because you feel warm, that your muscles are ready to race. Do a few warm up exercises and a shorter than usual warm up run before you head to the corral.
  • Eat saltier food for a couple of days before your race. I swear by this, mainly because I can’t stomach drinks like Gatorade that are usually offered at aid stations. Unless you have a contraindication to salt, like hypertension, then add a little extra to your food for a couple of days prior to your race. You can also swallow a fast food packet of salt before your race (when I ran the NYC marathon, the start village had salt packets at the aid station).

Tips for Hot Weather Running - Don’t give up on running when the weather turns hot and summer kicks in! These tips and tricks will have you staying cool all summer long. Hot weather hacks for training, racing and running for fun and fitness. Whether you’re a beginner runner, or a pro, check out these running tips for the heat. |running| |running tips|

Remember – Summer running leads to Fall PR’s! (That can be your mantra as you’re melting on your next hot run).

What are your tips for hot weather running? 

Do you prefer running in the winter or summer?


  1. Great tips Carly! They can make all the difference! It has been brutal these last few days….and days to come!
    Tina Muir recently posted…Meatless Monday- Italian Summer Vegetable SaladMy Profile

  2. This works (these work :-)) so well for my hot hot weather wogggggging too.
    Carla recently posted…4 questions I ask my daughter each day.My Profile

  3. I absolutely love hot weather, sunshine, summer – all of it. But if I’m going to run, it’s got to be at dawn, before the heat and humidity leave me exhausted.
    Jessica @ Absurd, She Wrote recently posted…The 3 C’sMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      That’s when I’m usually aiming for, but it doesn’t always happen…

  4. I love the tip on eating saltier foods leading up to race day. I never knew this trick until recently and it really works for me too! I absolutely hate carrying water with me on runs in the summer but I know I need it…even if I think I don’t, I bring it since I’ve been to that rodeo and it’s u.g.l.y.
    Lastly, I like that you give permission to run on the treadmill in the summer! I always feel like I should be running outside if the sun is out but, when I can’t get out until almost 9am and it’s already 80 degrees? Treadmill.
    Good luck getting (slowly!) back into your running routine mama. You must be loving it!!
    Allie recently posted…The Rundown: One Day At A TimeMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      You’re so right – it does feel like you’re throwing it in Mother Nature’s face to workout indoors in the summer, after all, it *looks* so perfect and beautiful outside. But I’d rather suck up a treadmill run than feel sick from the heat.

  5. No I wouldn’t wave back! 🙂 Summer running – it’s love-hate for me. I love the warmer weather but the humidity really bites. I have to remember to keep myself well hydrated and to try not to worry about pace.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Get Out Of Your Own WayMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Yup, the humidity is tough. I sweat just thinking about running, so I have to be careful with hydration in summer in the city.

  6. I love this! I needed to read this for real especially before sunday’s upcoming 10k! I felt it so bad when I ran the UAE a few weeks ago, the summer temps have a way of defeating you pretty early! This is perfect advice!
    Nellie recently posted…Your Very Own Bouncy House?! Jr. Jump ‘N Slide Bouncer Review & Giveaway!My Profile

  7. Great tips!! I’m going to try the ice cube/bandana trick. Pushing a stroller on crazy humid days makes me sweat like crazy!
    Jen@jpabstfitness recently posted…Fitbit ZipMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I hope it works! I’m going to try it too if it’s still too hot when Baby T is big enough for running with mama.


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