Staying Cool Being Active When It’s Hot Outside
It gets hot and humid here in Washington, D.C., so summer is not the best time of year for local races. Still, there are two summer races I do every year: the Lawyers Have Heart 10K in June and the Go Fourth 8K in July. I’ve learned the hard way that racing in the summer is different than racing in cooler months, and thought I’d share my five tips for summer running.
1. Hydrate in advance. Don’t wait until race day–or race day eve–to start hydrating. Focus on drinking enough water several days before your race.
2. Put ice and Gatorade in your water bottle. I usually only drink water when I’m running, but a hot summer race calls for ice and Gatorade (or some other drink with salt and electrolytes).
3. Bring an icy towel to cool off with. I learned this trick from my son’s summer lacrosse tournaments. Fill a small cooler (or large zipper bag) with ice and water, and submerge a wet hand towel. It will feel so good at the finish line!
Small cooler packed with towel, ice water, and spare water bottle.
Icy Gatorade ready to go.
4. Wear sunscreen and a hat. I usually run at dawn and don’t always put on sunscreen or need a hat, but I use both for summer races since I know I will be out in the sun before, during, and after a race. I really should invest in lightweight prescription sunglasses–but I think it’s sweat that is making me squint in this picture!
Cooling off by the fountain after the Lawyers Have Heart 10K.
5. Set your goal with the weather conditions in mind. Unless you live where it is warm year-round, or specifically train in hot weather conditions, your summer pace may not be as fast as your spring pace. It’s hard not to keep chasing PRs, but respect the weather and realize that your body has to work harder under hot and humid conditions. I take the weather into account by running shorter races in the summer, but I still need to adjust my pacing and not start off so fast.
Summer running is hot, but it can be fun, especially if there is watermelon at the finish!
MCM Mama and I are on the same page! Learn how she is coping with the D.C. weather in her “Running sucks” post.
What are your tips for staying cool while keeping active in the summer?