Most of Britain is experiencing a heatwave, with temperatures reaching up to 32℃. The public health watchdog for England has issued an amber health warning, advising people to take care in the hotter weather. But what does it mean for runners? Is it ever too hot to go for a run?
With the recent high temperatures in parts of the UK soaring above 30℃, people may find themselves questioning the safety of running in the heat. Running in hotter temperatures though is not uncommon, with many runners competing in warmer climates such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Japan, where temperatures average 25℃.
But while running in the heat may be considered a risk to some people – such as children, the elderly and pregnant women – as long as precautions are taken, running in temperatures as high as 30-35℃ is fine.
A number of running events take place in extreme heat (over 35℃), such as Badwater, the 135-mile ultra-marathon that takes place in Death Valley, California, where temperatures can sore to over 50℃. There is also the annual Marathon des Sables, a five-day run across the Sahara Desert in Morocco, where temperatures can reach 50℃. This 156-mile run is considered the toughest foot race on Earth. Our experience at Kingston University with people running and training in our heat chamber for events such as the Marathon des Sables and Badwater, demonstrates that with enough preparation, hydration and being sensible about how hard you run, it is possible to run safely in high temperatures. But it is important to note, that these races do take a lot of preparation and acclimatisation and running in such temperatures is certainly not recommended without thorough training.