What every runner should know about long distance running in the heat

Whether you run for general fitness or are training to compete in long distance, running in summer can be a dangerous game.

Little niggles and aches felt in your foot or calf can result in something much more when you are dehydrated or excessively fatigued by the heat.


So how can you keep getting the most out of your training in the hot weather? Therese Stegley, Physiotherapist from our Langwarrin clinic gives us her tips for long distance running over the summer months.

What evidence is there?

Exercising in hot weather induces thermoregulatory and other physical strains on the body that can lead to an actual impairment in your exercise endurance capacity (Racinais et al, 2015).

One of the most important tips to reduce physiological strain and optimise your performance is to ‘acclimatise’ or ‘get used to’ to the heat. You wouldn’t run regularly in Melbourne winter and then hop on a plane to the Bahamas and run in 42⁰C and expect to be okay?!

It takes time for our body to get used to change. Heat acclimatisation involves repetitive exercise completed in heated environments over a minimum of 1-2 weeks (Nybo, Rasmussen & Sawka, 2014). Also, it is imperative to account for longer recovery periods between exercise compared to other times of the year in order for the body to adequately hydrate and cool (Nybo, Rasmussen & Sawka, 2014).

Tips to combating fatigue


Plan your run in areas known for adequate shade, aim to run early the morning or after dusk if there is a cool change. Keep in mind, most fun runs and marathons begin early in the morning for this very reason!


Stay hydrated not just during and after your long run but also the night before.


Being dehydrated and over-training can lead to tightness in the muscles and stiffness in the spine which can ultimately alter the way we walk and therefore run. Remember: each stretch should be held for a minimum of 20-30 seconds. Do not continue stretching if there is significant pain. Never bounce or force your body to stretch.

Click here  for a great stretching program from www.runnersworld.co.uk.


For more information or to make an appointment, you can BOOK ONLINE or call your local clinic.


Nybo L, Rasmussen P, Sawka MN. Performance in the heat—physiological factors of importance for hyperthermia-induced fatigue. Compr Physiol. 2014;4:657–689
Racinais, S., Alonso, J.-M., Coutts, A. J., Flouris, A. D., Girard, O., González-Alonso, J., … Périard, J. D. (2015). Consensus Recommendations on Training and Competing in the Heat. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.z.), 45(7), 925–938. http://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0343-6
Rowell LB. Human cardiovascular adjustments to exercise and thermal stress. Physiol Rev. 1974;54:75–159

Spotlight on Joanna Daves – Physiotherapist

This week in our “Spotlight On” series we caught up with Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor from our Mornington clinic, Joanna Daves. She provided a great description of the role of her “Physio voice” and her “Patient voice” in overcoming injury.


Well, I had a real interest anatomy and science. I love sports and I knew that health care would be a great fit for me. Physiotherapy seems to tick all those boxes. It was the best decision I made.

What does being part of community sport mean to you?

For the last seven years I have been part of the Victorian Referee community as a physiotherapist in both the A-league and W-League, soccer. It has been a great way to actively be part of the sport I love and especially as people do not realise the amount of work that goes into being a referee at an international level. It has been an eye opener for me and has made me appreciate the referees/umpires in all codes.

What is your philosophy around injury management?

It is all about managing load and also looking beyond the location of pain. Getting a bigger picture of everything that has contributed to their injury. I try and look past the injury that someone presents with in order to get them better and also prevent them from coming back with the same thing down the track. Prevention is better than a cure, always!

What is your proudest sporting moment as a player?

I did my first ever sprint sized triathlon a few years ago. I was never so inclined but working alongside triathletes in Mornington helped motivate me to get fit enough to at least give it a go. I started running, cycling and I even had to learn how to swim. Basically starting out with no fitness to doing all those distances and swimming in the bay was a big achievement for me. I showed myself that hard work goes a long way.

What is your worst injury and how did you overcome it?

Hip pain that was not originating from the hip. I realised how frustrating injuries are! It stopped me from training as much as I would have liked, which had a big impact on my mindset. It is hard having injuries as a physiotherapist – you feel crazy. You have a physio voice saying ‘do this and you will get better’ and the patient voice saying ‘you will never get better’. I just had to think logically and rationally, listen to my own advice and listen to my colleagues.

Who is your sporting hero and what do you admire most about them?

I have two. The first is Rafael Nadal with his “never say die” attitude. He also treats every point as if it means everything. My second is Daniel Ricciardo. Daniel puts everything on the line at every race. In such a dangerous sport, he shows amazing courage and bravery and really pushes the limits.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation. Europe would only be a single step away. On my lunch break, I’d go to Greece for a swim then eat my favorite souvlaki, then step back to Mornington and see my next patient. Life would be good!

To make an appointment with Joanna, contact Mornington Central Physiotherapy on 5973 5511 or Make an online booking