Five Tips For Summer Running

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.

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.

5 Tips For Summer Racing

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!

5 Tips For Summer Running

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!

LHH Fountain

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!

5 Tips For Summer Racing

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?

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13 Responses to Five Tips For Summer Running

  1. I need a hat. 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

  2. christineyu69776410 says:

    Ice in my water bottle is key for me!! While it may freeze my hands initially, it does help me stay cool in that initial warm-up period as I have a tendency to get really hot really quickly so it helps regulate my temperature. And a hat/visor and sunglasses for sure!

  3. Ryan @ BSX says:

    These are awesome tips, Coco. Thanks for sharing! It's ridiculously hot and humid here in Houston, TX. I especially like tip #5. It's easy to get frustrated with the weather, but slogging through a few sticky runs makes you stronger (and more mentally tough) for when the weather cools off.

  4. Linz says:

    when i was running, i always wore sunglasses in the summer too. gotta protect those eyeballs! 🙂

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I love your tip about setting goals with the weather in mind — so important to reevaluate when the temperatures soar! I tend to wear a lot of black, but in the summer I try to opt for lighter, more reflective colored gear.

  6. Alison says:

    Great tips! Thanks for the info

  7. Great tips. I hate running when it is too hot. I make sure to run close to home to come in for ice water too. Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday. A great reminder to come by to say hi to you too!

  8. @LisaEirene says:

    Love putting ice in my water bottles. For hot and long bike rides I'd also put half water and half gatorade in my bottles. And lots of sunscreen!

  9. Great tips! I wish we had a Lawyers Have Heart race here in Dayton. I would love to see our legal community get behind an event like that and I'd love to participate!

  10. rachelleq1 says:

    Great tips! I always used to fill my water bottle with ice when I was a teenager during the August soccer practices I had to run at. It stayed cold the whole time and really kept me nice and cool!

  11. Pingback: How Pulse Points Can Help You Stay Cool While Running - Fruition Fitness

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