Running in hot/humid weather

For the first time since I took up running it was just about cool enough, here in Dubai, to run outdoors at 6.30 this morning. It was about 30 degrees C, but I decided to have a go anyway. Bored of going on the treadmill all the time.

The ouside elements affected me and I found that I couldn't run continuously without a break.
I ran for 18 minutes in total before taking 30 second breaks every so often to bring my HR down when it got too high.

Any tips for running in hot weather would be much appreciated. I carried water with me and it just about lasted me for for the 35 mins.



  • Beth 30,

    I ran for several years in Kuwait year round with a number of colleagues. The trick for me was to be wary of sun and humidity, and be careful about hydration.

    Running in dry conditions up to 45 C was fine at night for up to say 40 - 45 min (10k) but in that time we would drink up to a 1 litre of water whilst running and the same again afterwards. Above 45 C things got difficult, but luckily it only goes over 50 C for a few days a year and then only during the day.

    Humidity is the real killer, and I know this is a problem in Dubai. 35 C and high humidity (80%+) is the same apparent temperature as 45C and low humidty (20%). From charts I have seen and personal experience, these are certainly limits above which care is needed to avoid getting into difficulty.

    Avoiding radiant heat from the sun I always find to be a great help. There is a huge difference between running at 5pm in low sunlight (or at night) and running at 1pm in the full glare.

    Hydration is vital. Lose more than 3% of your body weight and you get into trouble ... from experience this is no fun at all. To avoid this, drink masses and don't push it until you are comfortable with the conditions. The body does train into heat - after a couple of weeks you sweat sooner and at up to twice the rate from articles I have seen. But you still have to keep drinking ! 0.25 litre every 15 min is what I normally drink in hot conditions.

    Longer runs at this time of year in the Gulf are also fine. 30 - 35 C in the evening can be a great time for longer outings of up to 20 km or so (humidity permitting !). For these, I personally find in addition to water, a sports drink is a very good idea half way round and at the end.

    Good point about heart rate, I always found a heart rate monitor to be a helpful early warning indicator of stress.

    At the end of the day it is a personal thing. By listening to your body, keeping hydrated and gradually building up endurance in the conditions you will be surprised at what is possible.

    Good luck

  • WardiWardi ✭✭✭
    Before you set off soak your hair with cold water, it will give you a cool half hour start. As a lucky fellow in his mid-forties with a full head of hair I often do this on hot summer days and it really works. A similar effect can be had by stuffing a bag of ice cubes under a cap before you set off.

    and here the autumn is upon us, best wishes.
  • Thanks for the extensive advice, Mr. C, - some very good tips there.

    And thanks to you too Wardi, although wetting my hair with water would not last for 1/2 an hour out here in Dubai. I have tried it and my barnet was dry within a few minutes (I have fine hair as it is) due to the heat and humidity. Ice cubes under the cap might work though.

    I have kept up running outside, when possible. I like to go first thing in the morning, and it's not too bad - the temperature is gradually coming down. I can now manage 51/2 - 6 km (35 minutes) without having to stop to take a walk break, and without running out of water.
    I was pretty pleased with myself, and the Dubai Creek views are wonderful at keeping you going.

    I am hoping that I'll be fit enough to do the Dubai Marathon's 10k in January. See how it goes I suppose.

    Cheers for the posts.
  • Hmm, guess after this advice I need to own up to having had problems at Windsor from the heat (see separate post).

    So I would add a caution about running hard and / or for long distances within a few days of long flights, when fatigued or with a even slight cold. Feeling fine is not the same as being fully ok - certainly caught me by surprise big time.

    Agree the views along the Dubai Creek are fab, enjoy.
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