Summer Running Survival Guide

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy running. Sunnier, drier conditions lead to increased motivation, and longer days allow more time to socialise over a forest jog or inner-city 10k after work.


When it comes to running in heat however, there are a few things to consider, such as staving off sunburn, staying cool and comfortable on long runs, and ensuring optimal safety. As seasoned trail running professionals, Karin and Simon from Run The Wild share their top tips on staying safe while running in hot weather.  

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Essential Kit For Summer Running

  • Loose fitting & lightweight - allows moisture to evaporate more easily from your skin. Tight fitting garments, such as leggings, reduce your skin’s natural breathability.


  • Synthetic & wicking – synthetic materials are more breathable and cooling as they wick moisture away from your skin and allow it to evaporate. Avoid cotton, which gets heavy with sweat and isn’t breathable.



  • Hat & neck tube – a cap is a must to keep the sun out of your eyes and the sun’s intensity off your head. A neck tube is also really useful, as you can dip it in water and wear it around your neck to keep cool. They have so many uses!


  • Sunglasses – these are essential if you are running in the Alps, but they also keep the wind and bugs out of your eyes!
  • Trail shoes – yes, even though it is dry, trail shoes still trump road shoes for off-road runs. Trail shoes not only have better grip on muddy sections but also on loose dry rock. Their cushioning protects feet from stones and uneven ground and they sometimes include rock plates or a thicker sole to protect your feet. They are more durable, provide better support to avoid rolling your ankle and stop loose stones stubbing your toes.

While it’s freeing to be able to finally run in one layer when the summer arrives, there are days when the weather can suddenly change so remember to pack a waterproof. Also, watch out for afternoon thunderstorms – often, running earlier will help you avoid them. If you find yourself in a storm, get inside a house or car as quickly as possible. 



Looking after your health during a hot run could not only save your life but also make your run a lot more enjoyable. The impact of heat can vary with humidity, wind and terrain. If you like running with your dog, summer is often a good time to leave your furry friend at home, as they really struggle with the heat.


  • Stay hydrated – drink before, during and after your run. Hydration is a continuum and therefore if you get out on the trail dehydrated, things will only get worse. Make sure you drink to thirst, and you have a plan for hydrating on route.
  • Post run, it’s likely you will still need to replenish your water intake for another 24hrs. Cold drinks quench thirst more and help reduce your core temperature. If you are out for a short run drop some ice cubes into your soft flask.


  • Go slow – running faster increases your heart rate and makes you perspire more, which is how your body deals with the heat. When it’s hot, run slower.


  • Salt intake – sweating will leave you needing more salts, which is essential for muscles contracting and relaxing, as well as brain function. This will depend on the intensity of your exercise, but think about how you are going to replenish it during and after your run. If you cramp a lot, chances are you are salt deficient.


  • Sunscreen – blocking harmful UV rays is really important to looking after your skin. Even when it’s cloudy, make sure to wear sunscreen.


  • Hay fever – Look at the forecast before you run to check the pollen index. The pollen count is generally lower after rain or in the morning, so if you suffer from allergies then time your run accordingly. 
  • Ibuprofen (NSAIDs) – It is best to avoid NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, ahead of a run in the heat because they can restrict blood flow to the kidneys. Having your kidneys working optimally is especially important during hot days, as they work hard to keep your hydration levels stable.
  • Identifying heat stroke – If you’re feeling dizzy, confused, grumpy, tired, headachy, nauseous, or breathing rapidly, these are all potential symptoms of heat stroke. This can be dangerous – so get into shade and stop running as soon as these symptoms arise. 
  • Insects – With more bugs around during the summer it can be a good idea to wear insect repellent if you suffer from bug bites or allergies. Always check yourself for ticks if you’ve been running through long grass.

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Route Planning

In summer, paths can get quite overgrown – this is partly to protect wildlife such as nesting birds and can also help to increase biodiversity. Be prepared to adjust your route to avoid bashing through nettles and stick to wider bridleways.


If it’s going to be a hot day, plan a cool route that’s largely in shaded areas such as woodland or hedge lines. Even better if you can find a place to dip your cap into cold water to cool down along the way. If you can’t get out of the sun, you can head to higher areas or ridge lines where a breeze will help you feel cooler, and provide an epic view!


Try to hit the trails early morning or late evening to avoid the heat of the day. Plan ways you can shorten your route if needed, or include a refreshment stop on the way.


Getting out on the trails in the summer is such an amazing experience, go find your wild and keep cool!


Simon James is the founder of Run the Wild - the UK’s first premier, dedicated trail running holiday adventure company. Operating in the UK and the Alps, they deliver holidays that combine the sense of 'team' from mountaineering, with the thrill of trail running in wild places. Simon is a keen trail runner and marathon runner with a PB of 2hrs 37mins. He is a qualified Leader in Running Fitness as well as International Mountain Leader and offers treks in the Alps.

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