Running in heat

It’s just under seven weeks until the Cheltenham half marathon and right now I am struggling to train due to the heat. Every week I calculate when I can run, based on expected workloads and not doing too many big runs close together. I’ve been aiming to run every other day – alternating eight mile runs with four mile runs, to increase both my distances and my fitness. But the weather is having other ideas.

I will never not run due to the heat, but I start out and I realise my body is telling me it’s not sensible. I’m not a quitter, but if my body is sapped of energy and is telling me to stop, I listen. It’s important to me to be fit enough to run the half marathon in seven weeks, but it’s also important to me not to make myself ill. Heat isn’t good for me and my body knows that, it’s why it tells me to stop.

The week before last, I ran seven miles and was a mile from home, when my body just stopped. I physically couldn’t run any further.

A week later, and the weather was even hotter. I was due for an eight mile run, but as soon as I started running, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I wondered if I should just follow my four mile route, or if I should try to push myself. I decided to push my myself – I headed off in the direction of my eight mile route, telling myself I would cut a big chunk off it. I found I naturally slowed my pace.

Usually it’s important to me that I keep my pace below nine minute miles, but I just had to tell myself that when the temperatures are in the mid-2os at 9am, to even be running at all is a real achievement. Generally I won’t walk either (apart from one long, steep hill near the end of my run which usually defeats me), but again I knew that I had to walk a little bit if I was going to manage it. I managed 5.5 miles at a 9 minute and 50 seconds pace. Normally I would be mortified at that pace, but I was just happy to have run at all.

Between the two hot runs, I found myself in the middle of a short, but very violent storm. I’d forgotten how hard it is to run in rain (it’s surprising how rarely I do end up running in rain). It was driving into my face, making it impossible to see. This was exacerbated by the suncream which it was washing off my face and straight into my eyes. Again, I was aiming for eight miles, again I was close to home and gave in at 5.5.

With the summer holidays now upon us, my running will be even more restricted and I will really have to make the most of the opportunities I get to run because there will be no second chances. My kids aren’t old to all be left on their own, so my husband will go into work slightly late one day a week so I can run, then I will get one run at the weekend. By the end of the summer holidays I need to be running 12 miles!

If this weather continues, I will need to push myself and run further so I can be sure I can complete the distance in September. I’m not concerned yet as there’s still seven weeks to go and, when I think back to other half marathons, I realise there is usually a week or two of training that goes a bit wrong – whether it’s due to extreme heat, snow or injury.

Do any runners have any tips for training in heat – and fitting training in around the school holidays? I’d love to hear them! Thanks.

Running, Selfie, Summer, Training

How I look after a run in heat – not a pretty sight!








Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. When it comes to running in heat, I was always told to listen to your body, luckily in the UK it’s only ever for a few weeks.

    Your body knows what it needs, to force yourself in the heat can be dangerous, you could faint or feel dizzy which could then result in a more serious ankle or leg injury if you stumble, then your training is set back even further with recovery.

    It’s a tough one, with the lighter mornings in summer I used to run at 0430/0500 that way everyone was asleep at home but my partner was there when my son woke up before I got back.

    Good luck your an inspiration xxx

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    • Thanks very much, Dawn. That’s a lovely thing to say and great advice too!
      The damn British weather seems to go from 4 degrees to 20 degrees almost overnight! I was told the perfect running temperature is 11 degrees, which makes a lot of sense to me, but I think it’s so rare for the temperature to be around that. x

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  2. I am not a runner in the slightest, I barely manage any excercise at all but as you know, I do know how important it is to (at least try to!) listen to your body! Even managing a short walk in the warm weather is tiring for me so I really admire you! xx

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    • Thanks very much. x

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  3. Wow I think running any distance in heat is pretty amazing. Some people can’t even get up off the sofa at the moment! I have absolutely no doubt you will do it when the time comes. Mind over matter is your motto I reckon!

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    • I think you’re probably right, thanks! x

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  4. The 40 minute round trip walk to school was enough to melt me last week. Let alone running anywhere! Too hot for that sort of thing, luckily it doesn’t last too long normally!

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    • It is definitely too hot for it. Like you, I feel hot tired and grumpy just walking. I know we shouldn’t complain and all that… As you say, it will only probably last a few weeks.

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  5. Thanks very much, you’re right – I shouldn’t push myself. I’m really hoping it does cool down a bit soon so I can run.

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  6. When we lived in Nice Hubs and I used to run along the prom, by the beach, in the crazy heat there. When we moved to the UK I loved running in the cool or even cold here, it pushed me to run faster to warm up. So I’m afraid I can’t offer any advice, except maybe can you run at 6am as you’re an early bird? It’ll be slightly cooler then. Good luck with the training in the heat!

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    • Thanks very much! Am impressed that you could run in the heat, but I guess you get used to it. 6am would be perfect, apart from that I need to eat and digest my food first 🙁

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      • We used to have a big carb-heavy evening meal, get up at 6am, run, then have breakfast after. It doesn’t work for everyone but it was the only way we found we could fit sport in to our schedules.

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  7. I am literally the worlds least sportiest person in the world ever. I envy the fact you enjoy running! I would love to but am just rubbish at all things sports related. I have no tips. But all I shall say is go you and keep up the good work!!! xxx

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    • Being the least sporty person ever is a pretty mean feat! I’m impressed! And thanks 🙂

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  8. Under 9 minute miles is a good pace Sarah, I do around 10 ish when in full training. I just get so tired in the heat and not too much done. Best up and out early before it gets too warm 🙂 I really want to get my running routine back up …

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    • Thanks very much. I’m happy if I can keep the pace around nine minutes – I like to not go over it by the time I’m fully fit! I do have to go slightly over at the moment in the heat though.

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