how to stay cool when running in hot weather
With many of our trips taking place throughout sunnier climates and the UK experiencing somewhat of a heat wave here we take a look at how to stay cool(er) whilst running in during hotter temperatures.
1: Hydration - The big one here is not to get dehydrated. That means taking on plenty of fluid before, during and after your run. With a variety of handheld, vests and packs all enabling you to carry some fluid it is a must in the sun. Sip regularly and ensure you also replenish you sodium levels to help with water balance and retention.
2: Understand how hard you are working - Being in tune with your body and understanding how hard you are trying is important. It's immediate, direct and factors in environmental conditions, like the sun or how hot it is. We've touched upon rate of perceived effort (RPE) previously in more depth here, but for the purposes of this article just remember that if it's hotter than normal you are likely to be exerting more effort than on the same run under cooler conditions. Since your muscles produce heat as a byproduct of exercise you will not only feel physically hotter but find the run more strenuous. Sweating is another useful and obvious gauge of this. Adjust you pace and effort accordingly to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
3: Exposure - Sun ray are powerful little things and this can have dramatic effect on your body. Remember to wear sunscreen and carry some extra if you are going to be out for an extended period of time. Reapply regularly as sweat and water can wash this of over time. Obvious signs of a little too much UV are reddening of the skin. You may find that this coincides to other symptoms relating to heat exhaustion such as headaches, dizziness, excessive sweating. If you feel you've overdone it slightly stop running, move yourself to shade, keep cool and drink plenty of water.
Consider carrying a light long sleeved top to cover up from the sun if necessary, this can double up and be used to dip in water and placed over your shoulders to help keep cool.
4: Route selection - This is a little dependent on where you live but try to choose areas that are in full or partial shade. If you have the option to run in a park or in the countryside then better still as this avoids the hard landscaping of cities which absorb the suns heat and radiate it back at you.
Be clever with your selection and try to incorporate water along your route. This gives you an option to cool down with a splash of water in your hat or down your back mid-run. If safe it also provides a good source to drink from, in cities running between water fountains provides an alternative. Finishing near a body of water that you can take a dip in is always refreshing, just remember you're probably hot and a bit fatigued so don't shock yourself in the cold water or get out of your comfort zone.
5: What to wear or not wear - Breathable, lightweight, light coloured and loose are you friends here for general attire. A cap or visor are a must and help shade your head even in open areas. Sunglasses stop you from squinting in the brightest of days and accompany your pro trail runner look.
Having hot feet is uncomfortable on so many levels so make sure not to wear your waterproof shoes and woollen socks, as before opt for lightweight and breathable.
6: Run early or late - Sometime easier said than done but organising your runs for cooler parts of the day, evening or mornings helps dramatically. Morning are best particularly if running in an urban environment as touched upon above, with the added boost this gives you for the day ahead.
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