Summer is a fun time to run. Not only are the routes often more scenic, but you don’t have to worry about dealing with snow, ice or rain. However, running in the summer isn’t always ideal. Sure, the roads are clearer, but depending on how high the heat and humidity are, it can make running very uncomfortable. Extremely high levels of heat can also affect performance. Think about it: you can’t run your best race if you don’t feel your best, so why expect to run well when the heat index is high? Thankfully, there are some things you can do to combat this problem. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite solutions.
- Hydrate - One of the most obvious ways to stay cool during a big race is to drink water—and lots of it, because your body loses liquid when it sweats. This water needs to be replenished in order to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion. So the morning of your race, make sure to drink a glass or two. Then, when it comes time to actually run, carry a water bottle with you to continue staying healthy and hydrated.
- Wear Cool Clothes - Your choice of clothing is another crucial component to staying cool. Shorts, t-shirts and tanks are all things that can help you stay comfortable during this time. However, it is essential to note that length isn’t the only quality to consider when choosing your clothing. You’ll also want to give some thought to the materials that these items are made out of. The best fabrics to run in are those that are breathable and moisture-wicking. Polyester is an excellent example of a material that does both. Many athletes also love this fabric because it is easy to clean and dries quickly.
- Avoid Dark Colors - In addition to length and material, color also has a lot to do with your comfort. This is because dark colors absorb heat, while lighter colors reflect it. Black absorbs the most heat of all. Therefore, you’ll want to keep this in mind when preparing for your race and plan accordingly.
- Use Your Pulse Points - If you’ve ever had a fever and someone told you to put a damp towel over your head, neck or wrists, then they were telling you to use your pulse points. These points, located in various places throughout your body, are spots where your blood runs close to the skin. Thus, placing a cold object at these points can help cool you down. This process is one you can do before, during and after a race. However, the experts at WebMD recommend that individuals refrain from using this trick for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Sport Some Sweatbands - For the same reason that holding a cold cloth to your head and wrists keeps you cool, sweatbands also help moderate body temperature. There is an abundance of these accessories out on the market, so you are sure to find one in a style and design you like.
- Race in the Shade - In traditional racing events, you might get to choose which side of the road you want to run on, but other than that, the course is completely out of your control. However, if you are participating in a virtual race, you get to plan the path you want to run. So why not choose one that’s comfortable? Try running along a forested trail or a shaded sidewalk. Doing so will keep the sun out of your eyes and help you stay cool so you can run your best race.
- Choose the Right Time to Run - Beyond choosing where you want to race, virtual running also allows you to decide when you want to race. And if heat is a concern of yours, then you can plan your race when the temperature is low. Early mornings and evenings are the coolest times to run. But even if those are too hot on the day you planned to race, you can always reschedule. As long as you finish within the given timeframe, you are free to run as you please.
Ready, Set, Race!
Now that you know how to stay comfortable while running, it’s time to schedule a race. And what better race to run than a virtual one, where you have more say over the specifics? At Virtual Run CA, we allow you to lean into that freedom even more by offering several different events on our site. Many of these races revolve around a specific theme or cause, and they come with cool medals you can’t get anywhere else. Celebrate your love of Mexican food by running our Taco Tuesday 10K, or honor your favorite fireman with our First Responders Event.
Whichever race you decide to run, make sure to set up an account on SportStats. This advanced time tracking app lets you record your progress while connecting with athletes worldwide. To learn more about this technology or any of our races, email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.