If you plan to go running around the Atlanta or Smyrna area this summer, you’ll want to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe from the heat. Hyperthermia, which occurs when the body overheats, can lead to dehydration, heatstroke, and other serious health problems, and you’ll have a better chance of avoiding these problems by running in the heat wisely. Here are some hot weather running tips that can make running safer this summer.

Wear the Right Clothing

Sweatshirts, sweatpants, and other running apparel that’s made from thicker materials won’t be good to wear in hot temperatures. Even some T-shirts and shorts are made from thicker materials that don’t allow easy breathability. It’s best to choose lightweight running shoes and clothing that is made from breathable fabrics and can help prevent overheating. Some clothing is even made with sweat-wicking capabilities to keep the body drier from the hot sweat that can make running more uncomfortable.

Drink Enough Fluid

Sufficient fluid intake is key to running in the heat safely. Drinking 10 to 15 ounces of fluid 15 minutes before going on a run can help you stay hydrated. An additional five to eight ounces of fluid should be consumed every 20 to 30 minutes of running. However, you shouldn’t drink more than 32 ounces of fluid per hour, as this can lead to a condition known as hyponatremia, which occurs when blood-sodium levels become diluted and can sometimes lead to medical emergencies. Water and most sports drinks are good beverage options that can help you stay hydrated throughout each run. Drinks that contain alcohol, caffeine or other diuretic properties that can deplete the body’s fluid levels should be avoided.

Opt for Evening or Early Morning Runs

Running in the evening or early morning when temperatures are generally cooler can help prevent overheating. Midday heat and humidity can be especially brutal during the summer in Georgia, and the added harsh sunlight can make getting through runs more difficult. However, mosquitoes tend to be more active in the dawn and dusk hours, so you should consider wearing repellent and avoid shaded and bushy areas as much as possible when going on evening or early morning runs.

Don’t Run Outdoors When It’s Too Hot

On certain days, the temperature and humidity levels will be too high to run outdoors safely. If the temperature is above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, you shouldn’t run. It’s also advisable to avoid running outdoors if the humidity is above 70 to 80 percent. If you still want to get in a run when the temperature and humidity levels are high, you can try running on a treadmill in your home or a gym that has sufficient air conditioning.

Reduce Running Speed

You shouldn’t try to push too hard when running in the heat, and slowing down your running speed can help you get through runs easier by lessening your chances of encountering dehydration and other hot weather running dangers. It’s important to realize that for every five degrees the temperature rises when it’s over 60 degrees, your pace per mile could decrease by as much as 20 to 30 seconds, so you shouldn’t be too concerned about going fast when it’s hot outdoors.

Protect Skin from the Sun

UV light from sun rays can have harsh effects on the skin, and wearing sunscreen that has at least a 15 sun protection factor (SPF) on all exposed skin can help prevent sunburns. There is even special lightweight clothing that’s made specifically to keep sunlight from shining in through the materials and can keep skin even more protected. Wearing a hat made from mesh or another breathable material can keep the head safe from the sun.

Be Aware of Physical Signs

You’ll naturally feel somewhat tired and out of breath while running, but there are certain physical signs that you should be aware of that could indicate that you’re pushing yourself too hard while hot weather running. Nausea, dizziness, or feelings of chills are signs that your body is in distress, and you should stop running immediately to recover if you notice these symptoms. If your body stops sweating even as you’re exerting yourself while running, you may be suffering from heatstroke and should seek medical attention.

Running in the heat can be a less dangerous and more enjoyable experience if you do everything that’s necessary to safeguard yourself against certain dangers from the heat and sun. Fullscope Sports has a variety of running gear that can make hot weather running in Atlanta and Smyrna easier this summer.