Correct Clothing is Important
Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself down naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process and dark colors absorb the sun’s light and heat. Wear synthetic fabrics (not cotton) because they will wick moisture away from your skin and cooling evaporation can occur.
Hydration is the Key
The easiest way to avoid any kind of heat disorder is to keep your body hydrated, This means drinking fluids before, during, and after your running sessions. The body’s fluid needs vary with exertion, climate, humidity, terrain, and other factors.
Be sure to take a sip of water when your mouth is dry and you feel the need to drink. When training, drink before your workouts and make sure you have access to fluids if training longer than 30 minutes. During longer workouts, some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (like Gatorade) to replace lost salt and other minerals (electrolytes).
Best Time to Run During the Day
Try to avoid running between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun’s intensity is at its greatest. If you must train during those hours, try to stick to shady roads or trails. Morning (before sunrise or right after) is the coolest time of the day to run since the roads have not heated up during the day. Otherwise, consider using the treadmills at your local gym.
Protect Your Skin
Protect your skin with a waterproof sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and offers broad spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Stick formulations are good for runners’ faces because the sunscreen won’t run into your eyes.
Never Overdo It
On a race day (or during any intense workout), take weather conditions into account. Brutal heat and humidity mean you should scale back your performance goals. Don’t try to beat the heat. Hot and humid conditions are not the time to try to push your pace. Slow down, take walking breaks, and save your hard efforts for cooler weather.
Ways to Keep Cool
Use water to cool yourself during runs. If you are overheating, splashing water on your head and body will cool you down quickly and have a lasting effect as the water evaporates from your skin. Also, if you are wearing a cap, wet that down as well, it will help to keep your head cool.
You should be very familiar with the signs of heat problems so you recognize them in yourself or in a running partner. You will feel the top of the inside of your mouth feel dry when mild dehydration sets in. If you feel faint, dizzy, disoriented, have stopped sweating, or your skin is cool and clammy, slow down or stop running and get water immediately. If symptoms continue, sit or lie down in the shade and seek help.