Staying Cool on a Hot Run!

It is summer in New England! And while it is August and the hot days are growing fewer and further in between we still need to consider the heat when heading out for a run.  With Chicago Marathon a mere 8 weeks away missing a workout is not an option for me.  So here’s some of my favorite tricks to beat the heat during those long runs:

– Run Early!  In Boston there is nothing quite like an early morning run around the Esplanade with the sun rising over the city.  In July and August it’s even better since it is usually the coolest time of day.

– Hydrate!  I know, everyone always says this on hot days but it is the truth. I drink plenty of water of before my runs and while I am at the office all day.  For long runs I use my Nathan Hydration Belt to carry water, Gatorade and Shot Blocks.   For shorter runs I plan my route in and around parks so that I can take advantage of the water fountains along the way.  I also have Gatorade on hand for post-run re-hydration.  On incredibly hot and humid days I also like to drink an Emergen-C 1000mg Vitamin C packed.  It contains 24 Nutrients with Antioxidants, Electrolytes and 7 B Vitamins, it replenishes what my body has lost from sweating.  Plus it packs an extra punch and gives me some extra energy!

– Dress Cool! I have found that on 95 degree and warmer days it’s cooler to wear a looser fitting technical t-shirt to wick the sweat away than one of my favorite form-fitting Lululemon tanks. Looser fitting shorts also keep me cooler.  I try to wear a thin running cap to shade my face.

– Wear Sun Block!  I generally only wear this for long runs that are over an hour.  But when it is really hot and the UV Index is high I will even put it on for shorter runs.  Who wants a sports bra and shorts tan anyway?

– Snack on Cool foods! I like to have a late afternoon snack, particularly in the thick of marathon training.  In the summer I reach for fresh fruits like peaches and nectarines.  The bonus of these is that when they are ripe they have a higher water content which helps with hydration.  A post run favorite of mine is frozen grapes!  They are delicious and cool after a hot run.  I also am a fan of all natural fruit Popsicles, they are delicious and perfect for cooling off after a hot run!

– Wear a wet headband! I was a big fan of the Buff products (check out their website: http://www.kitshack.com/catalog/) in college.  They are lightweight and can be worn numerous ways, I took advantage of the headband and neck styles most often.  They are perfect for soaking in cool water and freezing and wearing during a hot run.  And perfect for summer they have a reflective buff and high- UV protection buff!

– Find a hose! On a recent 14-miler we were sweating and sweltering at mile 11.  The upcoming 3 miles seemed like an awful challenge. Much to my delight my running partner found a hose sitting in a garden of a brownstone.  We ran over and turned it on, it had the greatest sprayer on it and just like a shower head the cool water came pouring out.  We ran the cool water over the back of our necks, down our wrists and over our heads.  It was refreshing and gave us the motivation to keep going.  Sprinklers are awesome too, I frequently run through them when I spot them during a run!

-Recover, Recover, Recover!  When we run in the heat and sun our bodies exert more energy than we would in cooler conditions.  Our internal body temperatures rise to 101 to potentially 103 degrees.  We all react to this differently. Stay tuned into your body.  If you feel fine post run and continue to feel that way your body can likely handle the heat but if you feel tired and sluggish, have a headache or stomach ache or any other heat related symptoms it’s best to take the day off and recover before hitting the pavement again.

– Use your best judgement! As runner’s we hate to miss out on a planned workout or run but it may just be too hot and dangerous to safely get our runs in.  In this case don’t forfeit a workout together, hit the gym for a cross-train day in the cool AC or use the day to fit in an extra yoga class!

So How Do You Stay Cool on Hot Runs?

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