Seven Smart Ways to Outrun Philly’s Heat

Local running coach Ross Martinson's hatred of Philly's three Hs has led him to discover ways to beat these sultry temps

If these hot, pre-summer Philly days have been killing you, you’re not alone. Somehow I forget that I was just wishing for June’s hot temps a few months ago when I was running outside during Philly’s bone-chilling cold. But when the city heats up in the summer, I always find running becomes less enjoyable—sweating isn’t top on my list of fun things to do.

My hatred of Philly’s three Hs, has, over the years, led me to discover ways to beat these sultry temps. So the next time you head out for a run, keep these tips in mind:

Stay in the shade. I spent a year in New Orleans, where runners plan their runs to head down the shadiest streets. You really learn to appreciate being out of the sun. In Philly, the best summer running spots with lots of built-in shade are the trails around Forbidden Drive. If you’re on the streets, stay close to buildings that offer those welcoming shadows.

Run early in the day. I’m a morning runner already, but the hotter it is, the earlier I go. Especially for any longer runs.

Run slower. It’s harder to run in the heat, so even though your pace might be slower, your body may be working just as hard.

Reach for H2O. This is a tough one, but I find that if I sub water for other beverages that I usually go for, like coffee, I feel more energized and less dehydrated during runs.

Drink water on the run. Normally, you can run for well over an hour without water. But when it gets over 80, or even over 70, it may help to take at least a little water with you. If your running route doesn’t have a water fountain, you may want to try the new Mizuno Endurapak [shown]. It can carry 2 liters of water and is fairly light.

Wear loose clothes in light colors, and avoid cotton. Synthetic fabrics dry a lot quicker than cotton, and sweat drying is what keeps you cool.

Run with a friend. Having someone with you is always a good idea for safety reasons, and extreme weather just adds another danger. I’m sure you can find someone to drag out, maybe even take turns carrying water.

Plan extra time to cool down after your run. Sweating is okay when you are running, but not so much fun if you’re still sweating when you get to work. Do a short cool down, stretch, and give yourself some time to drink a cold glass of water.

ASK THE RUNNING COACH: Have a question for Ross? Email him here.

Ross Martinson is the running coach for Team Philly and co-owner of Philadelphia Runner. Read more about him and his role at Be Well Philly here.