As I have said before, Morocco is an awesome place to live and run. There are great views, friendly people, a rich culture, and wonderful weather for most of the year. However, there comes a season once a year when running and life in general become very interesting in certain parts of Morocco and that is the summer.
Morocco is a very diverse country. At certain times of the year if you are visiting here, you can in just a few days, surf in Tanger, ski in Ifran, run the medina in Marrakech, and then take a ride to the Sahara, and camp there. But for the months of July and August the temperatures rise and all the locals seem to change their daily routine. You must understand this is completely normal and makes complete sense, the average afternoon temperatures here, at least in Marrakech, in July averaged above 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius) in the shade.
And so not to be left out, I to changed my life around a little bit too. I've always been the afternoon/evening runner. In the past I have never really wanted to run in the mornings. Only if my day didn't have time in it to let me run later on then I would run in the morning. Well, here I am going on my fifth week of morning runs. I discovered that as long as you run before eleven in the morning the sun isn't too strong and you can get your run in. In other parts of the country the temperatures are not quite like they are in Marrakech so afternoon running is still possible.
While the heat makes running more difficult it doesn't make it at all impossible. So here I would like to give you, my readers, some running in the heat tips.
Remember I'm not a doctor. So, if you have a serious medical issue talk to your doctor before you attempt any hot weather runs.
Four running in the summer heat tips:
- Hydrate. This might sound like a no brainer, but look at just how many people are treated for dehydration at marathons every year and how many of those people are experience runners. The heat makes you sweat and puts a strain body. You need to be replenishing those fluids before, after, and during every run. Drink before your run. Carry a bottle and drink during a run or carry money to buy water on the way. Then make sure when you finish up you're drinking some more water.
- Cover up with a hat. I'm not a hat kind of guy. I don't wear hats. My wife generally doesn't let me wear hats because I don't look good in hats but when I'm running in the strong afternoon sun I throw a hat on and I'm amazed at just how much a hat can keep me cool.
- Slow down. The heat makes your body work harder to keep itself cool and running at normal pace may be just too much for your system to handle. Slowing down your pace for a few runs won't throw your training. But a serious heat stroke can ruin your plans for that fall race personal record not to mention that expensive bill you get from the hospital.
- Run early. As I said, I have began to run in the early morning and while it can still be warm I have not seen a morning here that was so hot that I couldn't run. I'm actually beginning to like my morning runs so much I might not be going back to the afternoons come the fall.
Well, this is by no means a comprehensive list. They are just a few things that I always keep in mind while running in the heat here in Marrakech. If you have any other summer running tips leave them in the comments below, Then grab a bottle of water and go for a run.