Sun's Out, Run's Out: 5 Essential Tips for Hot Weather Running

April 27, 2024

Ah yes, we have it made through spring, the birds are chirping, all the flowers are in bloom, life is good and all is right in the world! There's a grand aul stretch in the evening and (eventually) the sun will decide it's time to crank up the thermostat!

As the temperatures rise and the days get longer, it's the perfect time to discard all the winter running gear such as the hat, gloves, snood, jacket and leggings and hit the pavements outside more often. But before you do, let's talk about how to sizzle safely:


You would honestly think this would go without saying! But unfortunately, a huge number of people get quite sick due to not drinking enough water or electrolytes before, during, and after their runs during the summer months. Indeed, dehydration can lead to a decrease in physical and mental performance, meaning your body has to work harder to maintain its normal functions. And that's just the beginning; you can also suffer from fatigue, muscle cramps, and impaired recovery from not getting enough fluids during your summer training runs. So don’t forget that water bottle during the summer months, or the consequences could be very serious indeed.

Time it Right

Like finding the perfect moment to tell a dad joke at a family gathering, timing is everything when it comes to running in warmer weather. Aim for your run during the early mornings or late evenings when the sun isn't blazing down like hellfire. Typically, I try to run before 9 am or after 7 pm during the summer months just to be on the safe side when it comes to heat. However, with the extreme high temperatures reached during summer heatwaves in the last 5 years in Ireland, you may have to go out for your jog even earlier or later than those times. And don't be fooled by a cloudy day either; it can still be incredibly humid even if the sun has decided to go on strike for a day (or a week or a month, as it is Ireland!)

Dress for Success

Sorry, Speedo enthusiasts, but when it's hot out, less isn't always more. It's all about finding that delicate balance between staying cool and looking sharp. Instead of risking a wardrobe malfunction or, worse still, heatstroke, opt for garments crafted from lightweight, breathable fabrics. This way, you can still feel fresh during those summer runs and avoid excessive sweat buildup, helping you stay cool and preventing heat exhaustion. So when the mercury begins to rise, keep your running apparel functional rather than fashionable.

Slather on the Suncream

Suncream isn't just a must-have for that holiday in Lanzarote or outdoor music festivals like Electric Picnic. It's your defense against the relentless assault of UV rays, as persistent as Temu's marketing campaigns. Before you hit the pavement for your run, make it a ritual to slather every inch of exposed skin with sunblock. And remember, the higher the protection, the better. For example, I will put on factor 50 for runs during the summer. At the end of the day, your skin is the body's largest organ, and a delicate barrier that needs your care and attention. So, by lashing on the suncream, you're not just preventing painful sunburn; you're protecting your skin against long-term damage like premature aging and even skin cancer. So, don't be stingy when it comes to this essential step. Your skin will thank you later.

Listen to Your Body

If your body received a WhatsApp audio message, it would probably chime in with something like, 'Listen lad, maybe it's time for a water break?' Pay close attention to how you're feeling, and don't push yourself too hard. Remember, it's a run, never a sprint... unless you're being chased by a swarm of angry bees or facing the wrath of a Twitter mob over that tweet you made ten years ago – then, by all means, sprint away! Alternatively, if you believe the heat or humidity is just too much, perhaps it's best to skip the run altogether. But if you're still itching for that run even when it's a roasting 28 degrees outside, consider doing in the local gym equipped with air conditioning. Your body will thank you for the cool breeze while you break a sweat.

As we bid farewell to the cozy layers of winter and welcome the warmth of spring and summer, it's essential to adapt our running routines for the changing seasons. Making sure we have adequate hydration, strategic timing, and the correct clothing are just the beginning. Protecting your skin from the sun's harsh rays and listening to your body are equally important. So, whether you're lacing up your runners for a leisurely jog or doing a rigorous training session, remember to listen to your body's WhatsApp messages and prioritise your well-being. With these tips in mind, you can confidently embrace the sunnier days ahead, knowing that your summer runs will be both safe and satisfying.

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