Running on Warm Summer Training Days

June 6, 2017 By Uta Pippig
One of my favorite summer runs... © Betty Shepherd

Uta Pippig is a three-time champion of the marathons in Boston and Berlin, writer and public speaker for “Take The Magic Step®” and “Running to Freedom™.” She is now also writing for the German daily newspaper “DIE WELT”.

Sunset after an easy run. © Uta Pippig
The early summer days are still pleasant. In June they are often sunny and mild. Fitness and running in the morning hours are fun—they brighten the day and fill us with positive energy. In the warm evening hours being active relaxes the body and mind.

Soon enough, the first heat wave will arrive when the sun is merciless and there is no breeze bringing relief. Even under such conditions, we can be physically active. In order not to stress the cardiovascular system, we need to take some precautions.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to adjust your training during the hot summer. For example, use the cooler morning and evening hours to exercise. If an intensive or longer training session is your goal, try moving this workout to the weekend, when there is less time pressure.

Pack a Frozen Towel

Shady forest trails for best workouts. © Michael Reger/Take The Magic Step®
Stay away from tartan tracks and hot asphalt. The latter not only can get immensely hot, but radiates the stored heat in later hours. Instead, try to find nearby shady forest and park trails.
After some of my “heat” training sessions and intensive interval programs on forest trails I like to go swimming. If there is no swimming pool or lake nearby, just put those “hot running feet” in any cold water—it is such a gooood feeling!

If you want to train in a stadium in the evening and have a professional approach, wait until the track is in the shade to start your workout. Bring a cooler with appropriate gear for the job, including a water bottle, ice packs, and a frozen towel.

Take a look at Uta’s Insights: “How to Hydrate Properly on Warm Summer Workout Days”

Change Your Workout

On warm days, give your body enough time to get used to the situation. Start your workout slower than planned, and only increase your speed as long as you feel comfortable. A heart rate monitor is worth gold here, it helps to determine the personal workload. If you do not own one, you can stop once or twice during your session and check your pulse with a watch.

© Betty Shepherd
Dividing a training session—one half in the morning, the other in the evening—can also be a good option to safely get the best out of a “hot running day.”

Some of you can exchange your shoes for wheels. Enjoy a bike ride and the feeling of the ambient wind. You can also run on a treadmill or go to a swimming pool. Deep-water running is very efficient, and improves strength and endurance.

Then there are the lucky ones among us who can enjoy a fresh breeze while jogging by the sea. But stay with the cool mornings or the sunset hours. Since the UV sun exposure near the ocean is significantly higher, always remember to use sunscreen and head protection. Ideally this head protection would cover the base of your skull, where also the heat-regulating center for your body is located.

Come and run with me on warm summer days… © Take The Magic Step®
I always benefited from the fact that the fall marathon events took place after the hot summer months. I planned accordingly to get the most out of these tough training months. In June and July, I focused on more speed workouts, which meant shorter sessions during the hottest weeks. In August and September, I added more endurance again.

Cool Your Body

Starting the workout in a well-hydrated condition is crucial for health and stamina. Anyone who drinks enough fluid during and after the workout is preventing a potential decline in performance and is improving their recovery afterwards. Pure water is not the best hydration solution, especially when the duration of the session is more than one hour. Isotonic drinks enter the blood stream faster and provide important minerals.

Pay attention to cooling your body—before, during, and after training. A well-stocked cooler, as I described above, is very helpful. Rub yourself with an ice cold towel before and after running, and if necessary during your run. If you are training at a facility or on a loop course a cooling regimen will be easier, since you will be nearer your gear. Pouring water over your head makes for additional cooling and promotes a sense of well-being.

Make your dreams come true. Never let them go! © Uta Pippig
Take a look at Uta’s Insights: “In Just 5K You, Too, Can Become a Runner!”

And not to be ignored, wear light-colored, breathable clothing. This way, the sweat on your skin can better evaporate, which has a cooling effect, and it conducts less heat.
If it is too hot during the day, wait for a cooling summer thunderstorm—and afterwards run towards the rainbow, play with the shadows of the evening sun. Put a smile on your face and keep a cool focus.

In the next column, I will share some tips for optimal hydration during the warm months of the year. I wish you a wonderful summer with fitness and running.





Adapted from my column „Mit diesen Tipps können Sie auch an heißen Tagen laufen“ in DIE WELT with permission.

*Uta Pippig, 58, is one of the most successful female marathon runners of the ’90s. She has won Berlin and Boston three times each. Today she lives in Berlin, Germany, and in Boulder, Colorado, and with her organization “Take The Magic Step®” she commits herself as a speaker, fitness coach, and meditation teacher to increasing people’s awareness in the areas of fitness, nutrition, and health.

Reading Suggestions:

  1. Benefits of Exercise for Children
  2. Yoga for the Right Balance
  3. Enjoy Your Summertime Fitness: Part II—Proper Hydration and Summer Nutrition

Updated July 4, 2024
Updated June 1, 2018

More Insights

June 6, 2015
A Hilly Topic: The Boston Marathon Course

A Hilly Topic: The Boston Marathon Course

The most effective approach for tackling the Boston Marathon course is to stay relaxed within your own unique stride and cadence. The frequent alternation of uphill, downhill, and flat sections will tempt you to break from your pre-race strategy, but stay with your plan.
October 13, 2020
Uta’s Favorite Exercises to Improve Your Fitness and Running Technique

Uta’s Favorite Exercises to Improve Your Fitness and Running Technique

Uta Pippig has designed an at-home fitness program which only uses your own body weight, steps, and a Theraband. They are eight exercises that Uta often does herself.
June 29, 2018
Uta’s Yoga and Stabilization Guide for a Better Running Technique

Uta’s Yoga and Stabilization Guide for a Better Running Technique

Runners, especially, can benefit from a well-balanced yoga and stabilization program. Uta suggests effective combinations of poses and exercises that have helped her gain the flexibility and balance that can lead to a better running technique for everyone.
May 15, 2018
How a Clever Mental Focus Can Get You Through Running Injuries

How a Clever Mental Focus Can Get You Through Running Injuries

Running injuries can be devastating, but learning to focus mentally can speed up the healing process. Uta explains how the forced break from running can actually provide future benefits.
October 7, 2015
Run Your First 5K

Run Your First 5K

Start on the road to better fitness and health by preparing for your first 5K run. Uta’s six-week training schedule with a combination of walking and running will guide you—step by step—to an enjoyable and successful race day.