Training

6 Tips to Make Running in the Heat (Much!) Easier

Brooks elite athlete and 1500-meter runner, Katie Mackey, shares her pro tips for keeping cool.

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Brooks elite athlete and 1500-meter runner, Katie Mackey, shares her pro tips for keeping cool.

1. Get your training done early.
The most important thing is to get up and get your training done early before the heat of the day. I speak from many experiences of procrastinating and doing the run later in the day—the quality just isn’t good. If it’s hot, your brain can actually keep you from exerting that couple of extra percents out of yourself as a self-protection mechanism to prevent overheating.

2. Meet a friend.
Getting up to run early in the morning sucks, so I always plan to meet somebody. Find someone who lines up with your training and plan the day before to run together. It will be more fun and hold you accountable.

3. Stay hydrated.
If you have a morning workout or race, you’re not going to be able to hydrate the morning of only. Start hydrating a few days before. We always say, “Be pee see!” Look at the color of your urine to make sure it’s light yellow—not dark or clear.

When it’s hot, you want to drink a more water, but you also don’t want to flush the electrolytes out of your body. Try mixing in sugar-free or low-sugar electrolyte mixes to prevent this.

4. Cover up.
I always like to wear a hat and sunglasses. Having that shade over your face can make a really big difference—and it protects your skin. Put on sunscreen as well of course.

5. Keep cool before competition.
If you keep your core temperature lower, you’ll respond to the heat better initially during the race. I wear ice packs around my core before races—I just stuff them into the front and back of my sports bra. You can also pour cool water on your wrists or the back of your neck, because there are so many blood vessels there.

6. If you’re going to be racing in the heat, get ready.
Sometimes there are going to be hot races. If you can anticipate that, you can prepare for it. I live in temperate Seattle, but one year U.S. Nationals were in Des Moines, which is very hot in the summer. We would wear a bunch of layers during track practices to get used to being hot while working out. We looked like wrestlers trying to compete in a lower weight class.