Flashback Friday: Survive The Summer Running Season

Running in the heat is a hot topic (pun intended) around here because I live in Texas and summer arrives early and overstays its welcome like a bad house guest. The heat index has been tiptoeing into the triple digits for a couple of weeks, and now that the dog days have officially arrived, we can expect the heat and humidity to settle in for a long summer. So what’s a runner to do that loves to run outdoors and doesn’t wish to relegate all their summer running to the dreaded treadmill — aka dreadmill?

For this week’s Flashback Friday, I am sharing a post that I initially published in July of 2016 in case you missed it the first time around. Flashback Friday allows me to update an older post and share some new thoughts on the subject. Check out Beat the Heat: How to Survive the Summer Running Season where I talk about how to get the most out of summer running. Go check it out for tips and tricks to maintain your running fitness this summer.

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Here are some quick summer running tips to follow before, during, and after your run in the heat.

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  • Planning is the key to a successful summer run. Choose a route with water fountains or bring a water bottle with you. Plan a route with tree coverage for shade.

  • Plan to run before 10 am or after 6 pm to avoid the hottest part of the day.

  • Hydrate early and often. It’s not just about the water you drink before you run, but your hydration levels all day. If your urine is light yellow, that’s a great sign you are adequately hydrated. The key is to be well hydrated before you begin a run in the heat.

  • Dress for the weather: lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing is best,—avoid cotton material in clothes or socks. Dress as if the temperature is 15-20 degrees warmer than the thermostat reads.

  • Apply sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF (higher if sensitive to the sun) to all exposed skin.

  • Warm up indoors. A dynamic warm-up will warm up the muscles and prepare your muscles to exercise.


  • Manage expectations. Do not run according to the pace on your GPS watch, but rather by perceived exertion. Elevated body temperatures can slow your pace considerably. Run according to how you feel, which likely will be a full minute to a minute and a half slower than on your cooler weather runs.

  • Keep your runs short and call it quits if you experience any sign of heat exhaustion including ceasing to sweat, blurred vision, confusion, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, dizziness, chills, goosebumps, or feel light headed. Know the signs; stop, seek shade, water, and help if you have any of the above symptoms.

  • Take walk breaks as needed—there’s no shame in walking!

  • Carry your cell phone in case of an emergency


  • Re-hydrate with electrolytes such as in a sports drink or Nuun.

  • Cool down indoors with a gentle Yoga or stretching routine. A cool down helps your muscles recover and brings your body temperature and heart rate back to normal

  • Refuel with a healthy meal that includes whole food carbohydrates and protein.

  • Keep a journal and take note of the temperature, the time of day, your pace, your distance, how you felt during and after, how well you slept the night before, and your food and water intake leading up to the run. Keeping detailed notes will help you make the connection between your performance and the conditions, so you can better prepare for what to expect, and how to manipulate your behaviors for best results in future runs.


Take your run indoors, go for a swim, or work on strength training in a cooled gym if heat and humidity are extreme.

The heat can feel suffocating, but it doesn’t have to stifle your running progress. Run smart and consistently this summer and watch your pace soar for fall race training season.

Let’s flashback to Beat the Heat: How to Survive the Summer Running Season to learn more!

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Coach Lea

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