I wanted to follow up on some of the things I’ve been doing since my post about beating the heat while exercising this summer. The past few weeks have been hot (as you all know) but I am not willing to totally give up on exercising because of it! Here is my take on what has worked well for me recently.
Since I don’t belong to a gym, heading indoors isn’t really an option for me. My primary defense has been in scheduling. For the most part I’ve tried to get my runs done as early as I can. Since my kids are up at the crack of dawn every morning, it’s been pretty easy to get up and out the door on the early side. I’m typically finished by about 8:00 am and I’ve mapped out some enjoyable shady routes for that time of day.
I’ve also been taking it easy, going slow, and making sure to cool down well during and after my runs. I’m fortunate enough to have some outdoor showers on my long routes and it’s been fantastic! I know that not everyone is willing to douse their head in cold water mid-workout, but if you can, you are in for a real treat! If you don’t have access to a shower, you can always have a pitcher of water stashed halfway through your route or design a route that doubles back by your house where you can use a hose. I urge you to try this because it makes such a difference! Just last weekend I was lucky enough to have my friend Marcia join me for a 6 mile run and I think she will attest that the second half was much more bearable due to our wet heads! I also like to hop right into a cool shower when I get home.
I did try pre-cooling by drinking an ice slurry on a few occasions, but I had a really difficult time trying to quickly consume something that cold – brrr! This might still be an option for some people, but personally I found it difficult. I’ve had better results with cold beverages during my exercise. It’s hard to keep ice water actually icy over a long period when it’s so hot out, but I’ve found that if I fill up my water bottle with ice and then add a little water, the ratio of ice to water is so high that at the very least the water is still cool after 30 minutes. As an added bonus I’m basically holding an ice pack as I run! I have also tried putting a cold pack (the kind that are still flexible when frozen) in my helmet when I’m out on a bike ride. I wrap it in a paper towel or cloth before I slip it in and boy does that feel great on a hot day! If you don’t have a flexible ice pack, you can get the same result with a bandana tube filled with ice (then you’d get the benefit of water dripping down your neck as it melts too!)
Make sure you keep hydrated throughout these super hot days, and be aware for the signs of heat sickness. Staying safe is the first priority, but the second is making sure you can continue to enjoy exercise right through this hot weather! If you have other tips and tricks for surviving the heat, I’d love to hear from you!