It's been hot in Minnesota lately, highs in the 80s hot. And it's probably not going to get any cooler. So I figured I'd share some of the ways I stay cool (or at least try to) during my summer runs.
- Run early (or late) Probably the easiest way to beat the heat and stay cool is to either run early or late in the day. Earlier in the day will be more humid (but cooler) and later in the day will be less humid (but cooler). Right now, I'm running three runs early in the day, getting out no later than 8 a.m. but I'll probably have to switch my Tuesday and Thursday runs to later at night as it gets hotter. Even at 4 p.m., it is still pretty close to the high for the day so I might be getting those runs at 7 or 8 p.m.
- Run in as little as possible I've given up on being self-conscious about what I'm wearing when I run (see my first post where I talk about my short shorts), in the summer I don't really give a damn if it means I'm cooler. I wear as little as possible (remembering to sunscreen up any uncovered skin), sometimes running in just a sports bra and shorts. It feels so much better not running with a wet shirt clinging to me.
- Carry water Even on my short three miles, I'm carrying my handheld water bottle so I can sip on water if I need it (and have something to drink as soon as I'm done running). I've also been adding in Nuun also for extra taste and electrolytes. It gives me a chance to take a short walking break while I take a sip and my mouth tends to get dryer when running in the heat. My routes have water fountains along them but right now it's easier to have my water on me so I can drink whenever I want to.
- Find the shade No matter where I'm running, if it's hot outside I head for the shade wherever I can find it. Of course, this doesn't work well on a crowded path but if I can I'll switch sides to run in the shade. Just getting the sun off of me for a little bit cools me down and gives me a break for the extra heat of it on my skin.
- Slow down It's tough but the one thing I'm working on during the summer is slowing down on my runs. One reason is because I'm targeting a slower pace for the marathon but also because I've been burning myself out trying to go my normal pace in the heat. It might be able to run at a 10:30 pace for one mile but it takes way too much out of me. So, slow and steady is going to win the race this summer!
What are some of your tips for running in the heat?