Ahhhhh, summer. The rest of the country may not appreciate the heat of summer as much as we Seattlites do, but we suffer (some of us more than others) through nine long months of rain, gray, dark, cold for the three (if we’re lucky) months of summer we get. Our suffering is well worth it because summers here are out of this world…seriously. We would not want to be ANYWHERE else in the world when we have a “real” summer: mountains,water, mountains, more water, greenery. It is breathtaking here.
The downside for us Seattle runners is we aren’t used to the heat, and definitely not used to running in it. Since we are finally on track with the rest of the country (world?) as far as having sunshine and heat, now is a great time to share ways I “try” to stay cool while running when it’s warm. (I can even claim to be a semi-experienced heat runner after surviving and finishing the 90 degree Boston Marathon in April).
You will not hear me complain about our weather very often; I feel lucky to live where I live and not have to deal with excessive heat or cold very often. I am amazed by runners in much hotter parts of the country, such as Amy in New Mexico who is training for her first marathon, who seem to manage the heat just fine. Even when/if it gets hot here, we are surrounded by bodies of water, which offer pleasantly cool breezes, and parks/trails which provide ample shade.
Here are some tips to help you stay cool while still getting your runs in this summer:
- Run early in the morning before the hot sun has had a chance to warm up the earth
- Run right before the sun sets
- Avoid running at the hottest time of the day, which typically is 5-6PM
- Wear as little clothing as possible
- Wear light colored clothing
- Wear moisture wicking fabrics (all Brooks clothing is great)
- If running for significant distance, bring hydration (and some extra to dump over your head to keep your body temperature down)
- Run near the water (the breeze feels great)
- Run much slower than your normal pace
- Hydrate more often when you’re not running, too
- Replace lost electrolytes from sweating: Coconut water and Nuun are some of my favorites
- Don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Wear a visor (my favorite is Brooks), not a hat (keep the top of your head open to help with cooling)
- If you ran by the water, or if there is water nearby, jump in the water after your run to cool off!
And, if it is just too hot (and humid) to run outside, take a day off or….run on a treadmill in an air conditioned room.
When I ran the Boston Marathon in April, I finished and survived thanks to: running through every single sprinkler/fire hydrant/squirt gun/hose, stopping at every water/Gatorade station to hydrate, running much slower than my normal race pace, wearing light colored clothing and a visor, and starting to hydrate much more than normal with Nuun three days before the race. I was sopping wet and hydrated (as much as you can be when it’s 90 degrees) the entire 26.2 milesand finished with a smile on my face.
How do you stay cool when running in the heat?