Here in Central Florida, we are well into the extreme heat and humidity of summer training. I’m sure it’s not much better in a number of other states across the country. While we may not have any actual races we are sure of being on the calendar in the coming months due to the pandemic, we are all still hitting the pavement or trails and getting the miles in. After training for 6 marathons and over 40 half marathons here in Orlando over the last 8 years, I thought I’d share what helps me deal with the heat during the hottest time of the year.
1. Run early, before the sun comes up. While a 4am alarm on a Saturday morning may not sound like fun, it’s a good plan. Getting up early and getting as many miles in as possible before the sun comes up really does help. It’s still humid out for the most part, it helps avoid the heat of the sun beating down on you.
2. Cooling towels. These have been a saving grace over the years for me. Towels like Dr. Cool/CoolCore are activated by getting them wet, wringing out the water, and snapping. I put them around my neck and it does help keep me cooler during a run. If I’m out for a longer run, I will get it wet again when I pass a water fountain.
3. BUFF with ice. Another option similar to the cooling towel is putting some ice in a BUFF and using that around your neck. The ice will melt as you do your run and help keep you more comfortable and cooler.
4. Stay hydrated. This is pretty much a no-brainier and one we hear about time and time again. But, it’s the simplest thing that even seasoned runners can struggle with. Be sure you are hydrating well all week long, as well as on your run. Stash water along your route if you have the ability, or carry a hydration pack or fuel belt. I have been using an Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro for over a year now and I love it. I can carry plenty of water and not have to worry about running out.
5. Slow your pace. I know, we all love to run faster typically, but the heat is a good reason to slow things down. Our bodies can’t cool themselves as quickly in the heat, making it more dangerous to overdo it. That can cause heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke. So, run by effort or feel and don’t rely so much on the pace on your watch. Olympian and Coach Jeff Galloway recommends slowing down your runs in the heat 30 seconds a mile for every 5 degree increase above 60F.
6. sQoosh it. I have been using a sQoosh band for years now. It’s like a sweatband you wear on your hand or wrist. It’s made of absorbent terry cotton and moisture wicking fabric. I wear one on my right hand on every run and use it to wipe the sweat from my face. They also come in some fun designs, so you can get one (or a few) you really like.
7. Choose your head wear wisely. Don’t wear a hat to run in the hot summer months. Instead, wear a visor or headband, as you lose most of your body’s heat through the top of your head. Getting your head wet by pouring water on yourself, and/or getting your visor/headband wet can also really help keep you cooler.
Do you have any other tips that have helped you? Share them in the comments!