Running when it’s hot outside is a challenging but rewarding experience. It’s a great way to test your physical and mental limits, and nothing feels greater than a cold shower after a good, sweaty workout. 

With this in mind, a lot of people who are new to running don’t exactly know how to prep themselves for a run when temperatures reach the high 20’s fearing that they will run as hot as an engine. In this article, we’ll go over four ways runners keep themselves cool as the mercury expands.


It all starts with gear

What you wear when you’re running can be a gamechanger for your comfort and performance. And we’re not just talking about wearable tech here!  

A running hat protects your face from being scorched by the sun, while still allowing heat to escape from your head through the breathable, meshed fabric. If you have long hair, a hat with a ponytail hole allows you to keep your hair in order and allows your neck and shoulders to cool.

Running in cotton clothing is a bad idea, especially in the summer. Cotton absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry. Over time, the friction generated between your skin and the sticky material causes chafing and blisters. You want to look for sweat-wicking fabrics such as polyester or nylon that pull moisture away from your body into the outer layer. This moisture that evaporates helps you cool your body!


Get your clothes wet

Have you seen athletes splash themselves with water during or after a rigorous event when they could be drinking it instead? This allows for evaporative cooling- the scenario similar to what we prescribed to sweat-wicking fabric. Besides cooling your body, just splashing yourself with cold water gives your body a bit of a jolt and increases alertness. Some runners go to the extent of wetting their clothes before a run to take advantage of this cooling effect.


Hydration, hydration, hydration

When you’re feeling hot, fatigue sets in quicker. However, staying hydrated allows for a slower heart rate and helps you lower your core temperature. Cold water has been shown to be more effective in cooling your body down, but either way it’s important you remain properly hydrated.

This will differ for everyone, but as a general rule of thumb, you should be drinking 17-20oz  of water two hours before a run, and 5-10oz at intervals of 15-20 minutes if you are running longer than 45 minutes. Be sure to drink at least 15 oz of water for every lb. lost post-run!

Staying hydrated during a run can be tricky, as no one wants to hold a water bottle. If you are very familiar with your route, you can place water bottles across various checkpoints, or run laps around your neighbourhood. Hydration vests/belts are handy tools to have in your arsenal as they have capacities going up to 400oz.


Choose shadier/grassy areas

When it’s really hot outside, avoid the asphalt. Asphalt absorbs almost all of the sunlight it is exposed to during the day and emits it as heat. This is the same for concrete to an extent. Temperatures in cities are always warmer than in surrounding rural areas because of this, and is referred to as a scenario called the heat island effect.  If you are stranded in the city, your best bet would be to look for parks and/or trails with a lot of greenery. 

If there are large bodies of water such as lakes and rivers nearby, I would highly recommend running along that vicinity Not only as these locations tend to be windier, but you can take the well-deserved, refreshing plunge after your workout!