Many people wonder if it's safe to run in extreme temperatures. Yes. You can run, but the run will be slower than running in the cooler seasons, like fall and spring. So, how can I run in 90-degree weather?
There is the upcoming 37the edition of Marathon des Sables in 2023, and runners from all over the world will participate in a grueling 155-mile (250Km) race in seven days. The temperatures in the desert run are usually high, sometimes reaching up to 122F (50 C).
It proves one can run under hot weather but to finish the race; you need to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Running or training under the heat has many benefits, including physiological adaptations and fast race times when running under cooler temperatures.
Higher temperatures mean less oxygen supply and less energy to the working muscles. But it also makes the lungs and heart work harder, which benefits your endurance.
You will sweat more and lose more bodily fluids (up to 2% weight loss), impacting your performance and increasing your heart rate to at least 2-10 beats per minute in 60–90-degree heat.
Are There Benefits to Heat Training?
The primary benefits are the physiological adaptations, as aforementioned. Other benefits include:
● Reduced rate of exertion
● Reduced salt in the sweat
● A high volume of blood plasma
● Early sweating
Will I Become a Better Runner?
Definitely, as you run, your body gets heated and tries to cool. However, under cold weather, it doesn't work that hard compared to hot weather. The difference is significant, and you will take notice should you run in cool temperatures.
Also, your body must adapt to new physiological stress because the muscles supply less oxygen. You can compare it to breathing in higher altitudes, where your lungs receive thin oxygen creating difficulties in breathing.
Running in higher temperatures results in more blood plasma to transport oxygen to the body's muscles. You will also grow mentally as it's tougher to run under hot conditions, creating resilience and endurance.
What Foods are Better When Running in 90-degree weather?
Your carbs intake should be higher because you lose energy as your heart and lungs work extra hard to supply oxygen to the muscles rather than to your gut. Carbs that you can digest easily will provide fuel fast and have less stomach discomfort.
Your body will require more carbs for fuel than stored fats because your heart is beating fast. It means that as your heart pumps blood, the purpose isn't to aid digestion but to supply oxygen to your working muscles.
Therefore, your body needs simple carbohydrates rather than proteins and fats. Examples of simple carbs are:
● White bread
● dried fruit
● sport supplements
● and nuts.
When Is It Too Hot For A Run?
Most average runners can comfortably manage to run between 85-95 F (29-32 C). But such temperatures aren't suitable for pregnant women, children, the elderly, or people suffering from various health conditions. It's safer to consult your physician/doctor to know what weather suits you before running.
Even though you can be in perfect health condition and fitness, you still need the training to run under extreme temperatures. You shouldn't attempt it for the first time when there is a heatwave.
Train your body by running in cooler zones with vegetation, like parks or cooler times of the day (morning or evening). There's also no harm in running under cool air-condition when training on the treadmill.
Your body can sustain the heat of 90°F as the heat makes you overheat and dehydrate faster. But be keen and watch out for these common overheating symptoms.
● Excessive sweating
● Muscle cramps
You can experience heat stroke and exhaustion when running in extremely hot temperatures. Train smart by observing your body and knowing when.
How to Prepare and Run in Extreme Heat
Your running dynamics should change consistently based on the weather, fitness levels, and terrain.
Because your body works tirelessly to supply oxygen to the working muscles, the blood becomes thicker, and the heart rate elevates. Your pace reduces naturally. Instead of running by pace, try running by perceived exertion and effort.
Run when it’s cooler
Waking up early to run needs extra motivation. But have you tried running during a hot summer day under the scorching sun, thirsty, gasping for air, and yearning for water? Now imagine the cool morning breeze.
Alternatively, running in the late evenings can also be fun because there's less traffic on the road and the weather is cooler in the absence of the sun.
If it's unavoidable and you must run during the day, consider wearing appropriate light running gear. For example, try protective sunglasses, hats, and a breathable running vest and shorts. In addition, wear comfortable running attire, breathable shoes and socks to prevent blisters and injuries.
Remember to hydrate
Water helps you to cool down when running under the blazing sun. Carry enough to drink and pour over your head using insulated water bottles that keep the water cool.
Eat nutritious foods before going for a run and immediately after training. Consider food rich in carbs and electrolytes, like bananas and fruit smoothies. Your body uses electrolytes to transport glucose which provides energy while running. So replenishing the lost energy is essential.
Choose your training course carefully by ensuring that it has enough vegetation cover, like trees, so you can run under the shade. When running during the day, select a course with less traffic to have fewer interruptions.
While it's essential to keep improving your time over certain distances, consider taking regular breaks. Allow yourself to catch some breath, even if it means sacrificing your personal best time. Schedule working hours to include morning and evening runs intervals to test your body under different temperatures.
The primary downside to running under 90-degree weather is the run will be slower. But the upside is you will adapt fast and improve speed when you switch to running in cooler temperatures. So, can I run in 90-degree weather?
Yes, look for specific training programs for hot days and see what different coaches say about running under the heat. Also, change your diet to include carbs and other foods rich in electrolytes and energy supply.