Okay, that title just doesn’t make any sense. Not if your hot summer run is in Florida. Staying cool just isn’t an option, but you can at least make the attempt to stay cool. But that’s all it will be, an “attempt.”
So, first you attempt to beat the heat by running before the sun comes up or after the sun goes down. Basically, it will pretty much be dark outside. Keep in mind, though, that no matter when you run, it will still be hot. If the weather guy says it will be 76 degrees at 4:00 am, what he really means is that it will be 76 degrees with 90 percent humidity. Therefore, it will actually feel like it is at least 90 degrees outside. I did mention 4:00 am right? I suppose you can use your imagination to figure out what it would feel like at noon when the sun is high in the sky. Sure, it might be less humid at noon, but then you have the sun’s heat to bring the heat index up over 100 degrees. And you know it’s bad when you check the weather online and see a bright red warning at the top of the screen that recommends you stay inside.
Okay, so around sunset or sunrise and anytime in between is your best option to stay cooler. I didn’t say you would stay drier, but maybe slightly cooler. And I know how the wind can sometimes be a burden when it is forcing you to work harder during your run (at least when you are facing the headwind), but you are often thankful of its presence during those hot summer runs.
Water is good to have. Well, I am sure you know all about staying hydrated, especially when it is hot outside. But who likes to drink warm water when they are trying to get cool? I often freeze my bottles overnight only to find out that they are already warm by the time I reach mile 2. I would have to carry a cooler of ice with me! Better yet, leave a cooler or two in a designated area along your course! For one thing, it gives you something to focus on (yes, our next break will be at the cooler!). It also gives you ice and cold water. Who wouldn’t want that at mile 5 of a hot summer run? The ice goes into my bottles along with the cold water that has been sitting in the bed of ice. Water has never tasted so good! Then you grab some ice and rub it all over your body. You could care less about the people watching you giving yourself a rub down. I usually stick a few ice cubes under my hat and I am good to go (maybe a few inside my sports bra too).
Well, that bliss doesn’t last long because then all of your ice is melted and you are left back in the sweltering heat. But wait? Are those sprinklers on in that person’s yard? Oh crap, they look so delightful, but then you catch a whiff. It smells like sulphur and some kind of funk. Right, those darn sprinklers are shooting out reclaimed water and who knows where it was reclaimed from. I could care less, but I actually really don’t like the smell and it is bad enough that I walk into the coffee shop later smelling like dirty socks, bad body odor and sweat. I don’t need to be smelling like someone’s funky butt as well. Skip the sprinklers, but fountains are fair game. They are usually chlorinated and smell just like a pool. Some shoot straight up from the ground so bend over and get that rat’s nest wet so it all drips down your body (I don’t recommend getting your shoes all wet… something about water slogging around your feet while you run just doesn’t appeal to me). Some fountains you aren’t actually allowed to walk into, but who is going to see you taking a dunk at 5:00 in the morning?
Okay, so we know cold water is a luxury so take it when you can get it. Then there was something new I tried today. A freezer pop. Not just any freezer pop, but an electrolyte freezer pop. It tasted so delicious at mile 5 and I could feel it cooling my insides almost immediately. I am definitely going to stock up on a supply of those! (however, you do have to take the advice of setting out a cooler because that freezer pop won’t be frozen anymore if you try to carry it in your fuel belt).
Fountain jumping, ice rubbing, cold water stocking, freezer pop sucking and early rising are some ways to stay (or attempt to stay) cool on a hot summer run. Any more ideas??