5 tips for racing in the heat for my 5th consecutive year racing the Torchlight 5k

Summer running can either make or break your fall racing season

There is no doubt it is hot out there. However, the heat should not stop you from running outside during the summer.

In celebration of running my 5th consecutive year of the Torchlight 5k, I am going to share my 5 tips for running in the heat.


20:59 PR

75 degrees

1- Have no expectations or try running without a watch:

you can see here I have no watch on. I had no concept of time. I went 100% off effort. My PR before this was 22:30. I was late to the race and was more concerned with that then my performance. When you take the pressure off yourself, you usually are able to perform better (unless you have a lot of experience racing under pressure and a history doing well). You will likely go out slower and have more in the tank at the end of the race if you go off “feel” than constantly obsessing over the clock!

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20:59 PR

91 degrees (heat index of 97)

2- Sometimes you need to run shirtless or sports bra. 

This was my first race in a sports bra. I am not one to usually race in a sports bra. I save it for when it’s really hot. It can really cool you off by taking off that extra fabric. I encourage you to try a sports bra or shirtless if the conditions at above 85-90. It can really be a game-changer! Even if you don’t like how you look, it’s not about looks; it’s about performance & comfort. You should be proud of what your body can do & wear what makes YOUR body comfortable.

PS to the reader- you look better than you think you do- stop being hard on yourself- you’re amazing!!!

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19:19 PR

75 degrees

3- Place yourself further back at the start & don’t sprint out when the gun goes off

 In a race, it can be hard to not go out “blazing hot” with all the competition and people around you. I recommend placing yourself WELL BEHIND (2-3 min) where you are capable of running in a pack. At the start, I was near people hoping to run 22 mins. Usually people go out WAY too fast especially the first 200 meters of a race.

By placing yourself further back, you are saving yourself from going out too fast. If you feel good, you can always speed up. The worst thing you can do at a hot race is go out too race. You WILL crash and burn 10x harder than a normal race.

Plus it’s 10000x better to pass people during a race than BE PASSED. Try it out. I promise you will like it 😀

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81 degrees

4- Stop “racing” your workouts & going ‘too fast’ easy runs

Are you crushing workouts? Are you running fast a lot? Then on race day, the results aren’t adding up? Typically a sign you need to slow down. Yes, slowing down to get faster actually works. You can read about that here. Sometimes really talented runners will do this to themselves without even realizing it.

Let your body recover on easy days (days after ‘fast running’ or workouts) by going at a minimum 2-3 min slower than your 5k race pace. 

Don’t make your body go to 100% during a workout. Workouts are not supposed to leave you feeling like you have nothing left in the tank (leave that feeling for races only). Workouts should be challenging, but they should be doable and sometimes they are even ‘comfortable’.

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97 degrees (105 degree heat index) 

5- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and eat.

I think people underestimate how much nutrition plans a factor in running performance. What you are eating and drink the 24 hours leading up to a big race, workout or long run can make a HUGE difference.

 A lot of people don’t “plan” for their run. If you know it’s coming up, be smart.

Drink a lot of fluids. Electrolights, water, etc.

Make sure you are eating enough and getting quality food.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people don’t do a good job at doing this!

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Victoria Phillippi



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