Walking or running in the summer is possible and doesn’t have to leave you feeling tired. Hot weather can often turn people away from exercising outdoors, but with the proper preparation, it can be done. The added sunlight also provides kids with essential amounts of vitaamin D, helping to fight certain diseases and leading to better calcium absorption and stronger bones.
How hot is too hot?
According to research by the American College of Sports Medicine, the risk of developing heat illness while exercising is high when the temperature exceeds 85°F. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather during your running session. Avoid the hottest part of the day, between 12 and 4 p.m. When looking at outdoor temperatures, pay attention to the humidity factor or the “feels like” temperature to get the most accurate idea of comfort level for your runners. And be sure to know the warning signs associated with heat illness and dehydration, to keep your kids safe.
Hot weather running tips
☀️ Stay hydrated.
☀️ Drink water before, during, and after your run club session.
☀️ Warm up before running and cool down afterward.
☀️ Take breaks.
☀️ Find some shade to allow your kids to catch their breath.
☀️ Use sun protection and sunscreen.
☀️ Wear the right type of clothing, such as UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing.
If it’s too hot to be outside, try playing some indoor running games or sports to allow kids to reach Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) and earn some miles. Remember, 20 minutes of MVPA equals one mile.
Tips from Marathon Kids Coaches
“In the sweltering afternoon heat, we usually escape the heat by doing some activities indoors in a gym: plyometric exercises and drills, stretching and core strength exercises, meditation, and indoor running games. My kids enjoyed running suicides in the gym. When we run outdoors, we offer frequent water breaks, we squirt them with water guns and we play water games. Coach Snyder set up water cups with holes in them, and [students] had to transport the cup over their heads to the next person in line before it ran out of water. The last person at the end of the line dumps the remaining water in the bucket and then runs to the front of the line. The first team to fill up the bucket with water wins. Sometimes after a long run, you have to reward them with a frozen treat!”
—Coach Elizabeth Malesich in San Antonio, Texas
“My running club takes place in the mornings before school. We start at 7:00 a.m., which helps with dealing with heat. On a couple of occasions, we played games in one of our buildings’ hallways and that was a big hit. The other thing we did was that every Friday we played a new game. The kids knew that Fridays were game days and showed up no matter what the weather was. We played games that involved running, like ‘Zombie,’ ‘Centipede,’ and ‘Wreck-it Ralph vs. Fit-It Felix.’ The kids loved the games and always asked to play.”
—Coach Cinthia Rodriguez in Pacoima, California
“Here are a few things we do to stay active during the warmer months without compromising physical activity. Start the session by making every student get water. Make sure your students carry a water bottle with them or go to a fountain at least every 10-15 minutes. Instead of distance, we do more timed runs. This gives [students] the option to walk or run. Any movement is better than no movement. It’s our responsibility to keep them safe and let them have fun.”
—Coach Chris Tamez in Rancho Cordova, California