We are getting a quick preview of the summer heat here in New Hampshire. Two days in the 90’s with some humidity to remind us about what it feels like to run in the summer. The key to staying cool in the summer heat when you run is to keep your core temperature cool. We all know those days when you have to get your run in but the heat feels stifling.
Tips for Staying Cool for Summer Running
Here are some ways to stay cool when running in the summer heat.
Run early or late
Running in the early hours of the morning can help you to miss the high heat of the day. Running in the evening can be nice too although sometimes the heat sticks around.
What you wear is key
Wearing light colored clothing helps because they don’t absorb the heat as much. Wear light, moisture wicking fabrics. If you feel comfortable run in your sports bra The less fabric you have hitting your skin the cooler you will be.
Wear a water soaked hat
Keep your head cool by dipping your hat in cold water before you head out. If a hat is too much for you then wear a visor. Choose a hat made of mesh or a light moisture wicking fabric.
Drink something cold
Drinking a cold beverage before you head out can help to bring your core temperature down.
Carrying water in a hydration pack and also some electrolyte drink will help you to stay cooler. When you are perspiring at a high rate you will need to be replenishing your water and electrolyte stores. If carrying water is too cumbersome for you then plant water along your running route.
Pour Cold Water On
When it gets hot the simple act of pouring water over your head can cool you down and it helps psychologically too.
Plan Routes Strategically
Choose your running routes strategically so that you will be in a more shaded area. Find a nice running trail such as a rail trail with tree overhang or go for a trail run in the woods which often feels cooler. Try to avoid asphalt and tracks in without any tree cover when the temperatures spike.
Slow Your Pace
When the heat comes on you may want to slow your pace. This will help you to keep your body cool and performing well longer.
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Finish with a Splash
If you can, end the run by water where you can jump in or at least take off your shoes and socks and wade in to the cool water.
Watch what you drink
If you have a run planned in the heat be sure to hydrate well prior to your run. This may mean cutting back on drinks like coffee which can act as a diuretic causing you to dehydrate faster.
Check the Temp and Heat Index
Check the temperature before you head out for your run. Also be sure to check the heat index which looks at how humidity affects the temperature. If the heat index or temperature or too high you may want to consider skipping or modifying your running plans.
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Don’t forget to wear your sunscreen when you head out into the heat of the summer. It won’t keep you cool but will protect your skin from sunburn. Also, listen to your body, there are many signs that can indicate that your body is overheating such as nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. If you begin to feel bad you may want to consider cutting your run short. It’s ok to wait for another day.
Hydrate Post Run
When the running workout is over don’t forget to re-hydrate. It is so important to replace the fluids and electrolytes that you lost during the run. One of the ways to check your hydration level is to check the color of your urine. Another way is to weigh yourself pre and post run to adequately gauge how much fluid was lost during your workout.
What are your best tips for staying cool when you run in the summer?