Run in the Heat: 10 Tips from Arizona's Hottest Running Store

Can you run in the heat?

You know...

  • Sun glaring down
  • Heat waves visibly rising from the asphalt or trail
  • Temps hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk (or melt running shoes)
  • And you're dripping sweat even before you start...

Few runners know what it's like to run in the heat better than Queen Creek Running Company founder Logan Brooks and the diehards who show up every week at the Four Silos Brewery group run.

🔥The hottest temperature ever recorded in Arizona: A sizzling hot 128 degrees.

  • 😲There's only one place hotter than this in the U.S.: Furnace Creek, Calif., which holds the record for the hottest temperature ever record in the WORLD: 134 degrees. ☠️It's near Death Valley and the infamous Badwater 135, which kicks off next week.

Can you run in the heat?

Yup. But before you lace up your running shoes to hammer out some blazing-hot miles, there's a few things you need to know to play it safe and manage performance.

👉Check out these 10 tips for running in hot weather from Queen Creek Running Company founder Logan Brooks.

🔥1. Do THIS 24 hours before a hot run

If you're serious about running (and your health), you should already be doing this.

But it's even more important if you plan to run in the heat.

💧Drink plenty of water.

Go for a run in the heat already dehydrated, and you're that much closer to fatigue, muscle cramps, heat stroke, or heat exhaustion.


"I'm the type of person who doesn't sweat that much," says Logan. "And that's gotten me into trouble thinking I don't need to drink that much water."

When he moved from mild temps in Coos Bay, Ore., (home of running legend Steve Prefontaine), to Arizona, he had to rethink his approach to hydration.


"It's a lot better to go for a run well hydrated and pull off the trail a few more times to pee, than it is to undershoot, deal with cramping, and be forced to walk the last few miles of a race or back to your car."


👉If you're planning to run in the heat, do this 24 hours before you go...

"I think it's pretty important to hydrate really well during the 24-hours before running in the heat," says Logan. 

"Just sip water throughout the day. Drink water when you eat dinner with your family. Consciously make an effort to boost your water consumption the day before."

🔥2. Drink this, not that

If you're looking for a little boost of energy to help optimize a run, you might:

  • Start the day with a cup of coffee
  • Gulp down an energy drink or green tea
  • Chomp down caffeinated gels or chews

"A cup of coffee might be part of your morning ritual or race day routine," says Logan.

"But when you're running in hot weather, I'd stay away from coffee, alcohol, and caffeine. Focus on drinking water instead."


Caffeine is a diuretic and may increase the need to pee and contribute to dehydration.

🔥3. Use The Hot-Car Acclimator Method

You walk out the door to run in the heat, and it feels like you're stepping into an oven.

That ever happen?

When you're exposed to hot temperatures, your body and your brain try to adapt as quick as possible.

The most likely response: 

  • Retreat. Run back inside to the air-conditioned house. Stay cool.

But what if you could override that?

There's a way to do it, and it's unofficially called The Hot-Car Acclimator Method.

"If I'm headed out to run a trail on a hot day, I'll intentionally drive the car with the windows up and the air conditioning off," says Logan.


On one recent run, he left the house when it was 110 degrees, drove to the trailhead in a hot car...and crushed a 10-mile run.

"It may not be the right approach, but the body truly can adjust to running in the heat. The human body is very adaptable, as long as you give it time."

🔥4. Fill THIS before you go

If you're heading out for a run on a hot day, you'll probably plan on packing something to drink in bottles or a bladder.


But how do you maximize hydration without getting bogged down by carrying excess weight?

Here's what Logan recommends:

"Drink 20 to 30 ounces of water at your car before you go."

That's enough to get you several miles down the trail without the need to carry as much water.

To keep things cool:

  • Pack a cooler in your trunk with ice and drinks. Then you can loop back for a cold one, or finish your run with cold drink to help cool down.

🔥5. Do it with doubles

If you're serious about maximizing performance for hot-weather running, lugging a hydration pack with a full bladder for miles might work against you.

Of course, if you're hiking or plan to be out for hours without access to water, a hydration pack makes sense.

Here's an alternative:

"Run with double handheld bottles," says Logan.

"You can balance out your bodyweight and protect your running form with something like two 20-ounce bottles, one in each hand. Two bottles like this can take you pretty far on a hot day."


Tip to keep it cold:

"Look for an insulated handheld bottle and pay the extra $8 to $10," says Logan. "It's totally worth it, even if it only stays cold an extra 20 to 30 minutes."

"Cold water during a hot run can be the difference between heat stroke, making it back to your car, and recovery time so you can run the next day."

🔥6. Steer clear of total meltdown

There's a reason Queen Creek Running Company hosts a group run starting at Four Silos Brewery in the evening.

🥵The average daytime high during the summer months is 100+ degrees.


If you want to avoid a total meltdown...

"Avoid running in the middle of the day," says Logan.

It's the hottest time of the day. It's also when the sun's rays are the most harmful.

FYI, the American Cancer Society recommends avoiding sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's ultraviolet rays are the strongest.


If running in the middle of the day is your only option:

"Stay close to your house or run on a trail with easy access to your car," says Logan. 

"You'll be able to go home or back to your car to rehydrate, get some shade, and head back out. Or just wrap up your run early if you need to."

🔥7. Think it through

What's your plan if you get into trouble on a long, hot run?

Anything could happen, like...

  • You run out of water
  • You get lost
  • You get injured (or bit by a snake)
  • You think you're in the early stages of heat exhaustion

"Being prepared is the best place to start," says Logan.

"But if you find yourself in a stressful situation, don't over react. Think."


"A lot of times people out on the trails running in the heat might have enough water and supplies on them, but make poor decisions when they get anxious or stressed out."

"Running in the heat can do that to you. Don't overreact at the first sign of stress from the heat."

"If you start to panic and react to your anxieties, that can steer you down the wrong path and lead to bigger issues."


TIP: If you're not sure about a trail, route or what to carry to run in the heat, ASK someone with more experience than you for help.

🔥8. S & E for running in the heat

Everybody's nutritional needs are a little different, especially when you run in the heat.

But if you're running 100-degree heat, you're gonna sweat. You're gonna lose fluids. And you have to have a game plan if you want to keep going.

"Getting salts and electrolytes when you're sweating so much out is really important for running in the heat," says Logan.


If you try and tick off the miles during a long, hot run without a plan to replace salts and electrolytes, here's what's coming for you...

  • Muscle weakness
  • Cramping
  • Mental confusion
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • With heat exhaustion and heat stroke knocking at your door

But it doesn't have to be that way.


"Something as simple as a GU Rocktane Energy Gel or some salt tablets for a few bucks can be the difference between a horrible race or the perfect race," says Logan.


Add BCAAs for longer runs in the heat 
"For longer distances, you may want to mix in some BCAAs [branch-chain amino acids] with your drink to help with recovery during a long run," says Logan.

"With this approach, you're less likely to be walking those last 15 miles of a long run in 90-degree heat. If you do it right, your body can actually repair itself during a long run."

🔥9. Keep it cool

If your running clothes look anything like The Dark Knight, it's time for a wardrobe makeover.

"In the summertime, make sure you're running in lighter-colored tech fabrics," says Logan.


Stay away from dark-colored clothing that can trap heat. And avoid any clothing made with cotton.

"I'm still surprised how many people still run in cotton shirts or wear cotton socks," says Logan.

"Wearing cotton clothing is a quick way to overheat. And if you're wearing cotton socks, your feet are going to sweat. And that puts you at risk for blistering."

🔥10. Rub it on or regret it

A lot can happen when you run in the heat.

One possible side-effect of any kind of friction when you're running (amplified by sweat): Chafing.


😭If you've ever experienced chafing between your legs, butt crack, armpits, nipples or some other area rubbed raw by your pack, or shorts, chances are pretty good you won't soon forget the shower water hitting that sensitive area.


Running in the heat combined with increased sweat production puts you at risk for some major chafing and major pain.


But there's an easy way to prevent chafing:

"Anti-chafing products like Body Glide or Squirrel's Nut Butter can go a long way to prevent chafing," says Logan. "Use it before your run. They're pretty small products, so it's easy to take with you on a long run, too."

🔥Do you run in the heat?

Share your strategies for running in hot weather in the comments.

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Evan Jensen
SANDY, Oregon
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I help RUNNERS reduce injuries, fix running form, run longer & faster by strength training without running ragged. I'm a NASM...


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