Keep Your Workout Cool


Ugh. I hate running in the heat, I run outside all through the winter, rain, sleet, wind and freezing cold, but transition to the treadmill in the summer when the rest of the running folk flock outdoors. I do my best to avoid the heat by getting up early, doing indoor classes, or treadmill workouts but when training for a race, longer outdoor runs are unavoidable.

Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in a cooler climate most of my life. I love a good hot sunny day for hanging on a boat, having a bbq or lying in the sun, but not to workout in. Yet, I want to be able to enjoy the summer, getting lots of vitamin D and outdoor training. Running through the summer is great conditioning for early fall runs and a great way to see all of the beauty that Seattle has to offer. So here are some ways I've found to make running in the heat more bearable, or even almost enjoyable.

Clothing Matters
Make sure to choose loose fitting and lightly colored clothing when exercising outdoors - avoid dark colors. Special tech clothing meant to wick away moisture is even better. Hats or visors are great for keeping heat off your head and sunshine off your face, which can help you stay cooler and not squinting through your workout.

Protect Your Skin
No one enjoys a sunburn, even worse, one in the shape of a sports bra or t-shirt. I have a permanent sports watch tan line year round that I rock proudly! Make sure to apply sunscreen at least SPF 30 or higher before heading out for a run. Don’t forget ears, face and the back of your neck.

Early or Later
If you can, plan your workouts earlier in the day before it gets really hot, or late evening when it has begun to cool off. Avoid midday or early afternoon runs when the sun is at its hottest and running in the shade as much as you can.

Stay Hydrated
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water all day - especially during your exercise. Never go out in the heat without your water bottle regardless of how long your workout is. It doesn’t take long to get dehydrated or worse, heat stroke. I always wear my camelback with chilled water whether I’m going for a 3 mile run, doing a stair workout or knocking out a 10 miler.

Plan Ahead
Map out your run ahead of time with a planner like to make sure you’ll have places to stop for extra water. You can also choose a shadier route to stay out of the sun, I like to run through spots like Discovery Park and the Arboretum that I know will be cooler and offer more sun protection.

Slow Down
When it’s very hot outside, you need to slow down your pace or take breaks during your workout to make sure you don’t get overheated. Pace yourself to make sure you feel good throughout your workout. Hot days aren't the best days for speed work.

Replace Electrolytes
For intense outdoor activity, you will definitely be sweating. Make sure after your exercise you replace the electrolytes you lost. Nuun tablets are a great option after and during exercise; stay away from high calorie bars or things high in sugar.

Listen to Your Body
Most importantly, if you feel too hot, dizzy or lightheaded at any point, stop, get out of the sun immediately and sip some water slowly until you feel able to resume activity. It’s totally ok to take your run or workout inside if you just aren’t feeling the heat.

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