A blog by runners. For runners.

Can’t take the heat? How to cool off your run

Stay cool: running on hotter-than-hot days

We had our first week of hot weather last week. And my workouts certainly suffered as a result. I’m the type of runner who lets heat and humidity box me in. No, seriously. I actually feel claustrophobic when the temperatures climb and the sweat starts rolling down my face. So, I’ve adapted my routine over the years to ease my pain.

Walk regularly
Taking walk breaks mid-workout makes a huge difference on those hotter-than-hot days. It allows me to catch my breath, cool down a bit, and even go farther than I would otherwise. I like to keep my breaks consistent and timed so I don’t start taking advantage. Think running a half mile or mile and breaking for a minute or so.

Run loops
On particularly hot days, I like to run a mile loop around my house and stop back for frequent water breaks. I sometimes even turn on the hose and spritz myself off before continuing on for another lap. You can also turn this into a hard workout by challenging yourself to make each mile faster (and the workout will be done before you know it!).

Wear sunglasses
A lot of the heat – at least to me – is mental. If I feel the hot sun on my neck and see a haze in the distance, I’m a goner. Wearing dark sunglasses (and a hat or whatever else creates more shade) helps the world feel cooler, at least for me. So if you’re in your head, this trick might be worth trying.

Take a dip
I used to live in a lake town, and I’d regularly do out-and-back courses that would allow me to take a dip mid-way through. If you have the same advantage, be sure to use it! Community pools also work, though you might want to shower off before subjecting everyone to your sweat-fest. If I plan to swim mid-run, I try to wear short shorts and a sports bra, something that will dry off by the time I get home.

Switch it up
Another way to beat the heat? Become a morning runner. Now, this one isn’t so easy for me, as I’d much rather bust out my miles in the evening hours. However, over time – and with a few tips and tricks – I can learn to love the new, cooler routine.

Watch the weather
Afternoon thunderstorms are becoming a mainstay in my part of the country. It’s important to keep an eye on the sky to avoid being caught in dangerous circumstances. However, knowing if a storm might cool things off can be to your advantage. I also occasionally wait for the rain (so long as there isn’t lightning) to get in some cooler, misty miles.

Try the treadmill
When all else fails, I’d rather not skip my run. So, I do occasionally head to the gym – even if it requires a day-pass, as I’m not a member – when the weather is extreme. I actually keep a box of free passes (handed out at races, given to me by friends, acquired at grand openings, etc.) I accumulate through the year just for this purpose.

Written by  Ashley Marcin.