6 Ways to Stay Cool on Summer Runs (That You Haven’t Heard a 100 Times…)

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It’s June 25 and I don’t think I’m going to make it through this summer. I’m not sure if we’re having some sort of heat wave, but if I didn’t know any better, I would think it’s the dead of August. I stepped out for my first summertime long run the other day and I practically crawled home on all fours because of the humidity from hell. And I know I’m not alone in this struggle. Everyone I see jogging around after 9am seriously looks as if they should be cast for season 8 of The Walking Dead. So guys, this is the burning question in my head (no pun intended): with 2 half-marathons on the agenda and 8 weeks of training ahead, how the heck am I going to get through this summertime heat?

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Now I know we’ve all heard the “no, sh*t…”  solutions for keeping your body temps down in these summer months: run early in the morning, run in shaded areas, drink lots of water, etc. But come on! We’re some badass distance runners over here. You don’t think our bionic primal instincts have already figured those answers out?

So to get to the bottom of this head-scratcher, I did a little digging. I went on a hunt for the not-so-no-brainer solutions for cooling off as a runner. And after breaking a sweat (hehe, pun intended this time),  I’ve finally tracked down 5 groundbreaking to-do’s for when your trots get a little too toasty.

1. Embrace Your Sweet Tooth.

If you're anything like me with a sweet tooth gone wild, you're going to love this study that the folks over at the University of Chicago conducted to see how drinking a slushie before a workout affected one's ability to run longer in warmer temps. Turns out it's totally okay to splurge with this icy, sugary goodness before lacing up (um, hallelujah!?), because this treat actually has the potential to keep your core body temperature lower, resulting in a longer-lasting run. But no, Sonic's Ocean Water Slushes do not make the cut. 😉

2. Throw Some Shade.

According to Active.com, you lose a major portion of body heat through your head. So obvi you want to keep that noggin chill by covering it up. But here’s the thing: you’ve gotta be strategic with your cap choice. Look for a loose-fitting hat, made of mesh or some other breathable material. The more airflow, the better. (And so what if a loose cap bounces around a bit? At least you won’t have that notorious ball-cap unibrow stamped into your forehead for the rest of the day. 😂 )

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3. Lose the booze.

Hate to break it to ya, guys: if you've got hearty run planned, you're gonna have to postpone two of your favorites: coffee and alcohol. Unfortunately they both act as diuretics, which means they make you pee and can dehydrate you. And let’s be real, the heat already has a 1-up on dehydrating you, so why let these other two stinkers have a stab at it? Therefore, no gin and joe the day or two leading up to a big run.

4. Turn to Towelie.

I recently discovered that Dr. Cool packs some pretty trendy towels that actually do an A++ job of keep you cool. All you have to do is wet it, wring it, and wear it. My suggestion: pack one of these in your back pocket and slip it out at your next water break. And if you wanna get real fancy, safety-pin it in place to cool you off for the entire run.

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5. Get Wet 'n Wild.

I'm pretty used to stepping out the door with bed head for my Saturday morning long-runs, but "wet head"? Never! Word on the street is that if you take a cold shower before you hit the pavement, your wet hair will do a pretty stellar job at helping you keep your cool. The trick is not to wring your dripping hair out entirely, but to leave just enough moisture so that a little drip action will keep you chilly longer.

6. Ice Sock

No, I'm not proposing you put ice in your socks. 🙈 Instead, I'm simply suggesting you cut up an old panty hose, fill it with ice cubes, tie it in a knot, and slip it in your sports bra, so it fits snugly right between your shoulder blades. Sure, at first you're going to feel a mild sensation of electrocution, but when your run starts heating up, you're going to thank that discreet little ice pack for having you back. 😉 (Okay, 3rd pun of the day, I'm out. ✌️)

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Stay chilly, my friends!