Friday, June 15, 2018

Keeping Cool in the Summer Heat

I LOVE the Summertime! Well, parts of it. The birds are singing, the sun is out, the trails are calling my name, the almost constant Spring rain has slowed, and the beach/pools are ready for swimmers; that part I love. OH! And snow cones. I REALLY love snow cones. I could easily do without the 90-100 degree heat and humidity (that make it feel like 110), but you can't have it all, and that part just comes with the territory. Since we can't turn on the giant outdoor AC unit, we have to find a way to deal.

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In my love of all things outdoors, the heat can also be very dangerous. It can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, bad burns, etc. (Remember when you were in school and some of your classmates would come back from a beach or pool weekend and be PEELING? I remember seeing one girl casually pick hers off in long pieces while sitting on the floor in Spanish class, and somehow everyone thought that was cool! I'm stumped.) I'm definitely not perfect in ever having avoided some of these things, but through growing up in Texas I have picked up some helpful ideas that help keep me cool and protected while being outside in the Summer.

Below are a few things that I do almost constantly, as well as a few things I'd like to try out.

Start the Day EARLY 



I used to (and still sort of do) hate waking up at 6 am or earlier to beat the hot sun and get in a morning run, but as much as |I fought the thought of my eyes opening to an alarm on a Saturday morning, it does have its perks. The last few weeks I've made a HUGE effort to get up early and get out, and by 9AM my runs are done and I have the rest of the day free for whatever else I need to do. The early morning helps me stay cooler than normal here and my mile times are also a touch better.

Bring Water On Your Run, Walk, Ride, Etc. 

This one seems like a "DUH" moment, but when you're used to running in the cooler temps and depending on water fountains it's easy to forget a bottle or hydration backpack on those longer runs. Water is life guys! I've tried to use a water belt, but it bounces around too much for my liking, so I have been carrying a Nathan water bottle. I love it, it's easy to carry and not drop and it also has a little zip pocket in the front for GU Gels, and ID, a key or all 3. I'm curious about the hydration vests and hope one day this Summer to try one out.
I love these water bottles! 

Salt/Electrolytes

I'm including this in the blog because while electrolytes don't directly keep you cool, I've found that after a super hot workout they definitely help with recovery. When we sweat we lose so much more than just water; our bodies lose salts/electrolytes that we can't get back with just drinking water. Because of this I like to make sure I'm getting plenty of electrolytes either after my run, or in the water during it. My favorite so far are NUUN tablets. They have no extra sugar or anything you don't need. There are also plenty of other options like low calorie Gatorade, as well as salt tablets. I have a friend who used to get headaches during her runs, so she began to take a salt tablet before the run and her headaches went away. Try different things, and you will find something that works for you.

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Ice, Ice Baby 

Having ice rocks on a hot day and not just to keep drinks cold. When I travel to BMX races during the Summer, I like to get a cooler of ice each day for my drinks, and when I am done practicing on the track or racing I go back to my cooler, push up my jersey sleeves and dunk my hands and lower arms into the halfway melted ice for 30 seconds or so. If you're super hot, icing the inner wrists and back of your neck helps quickly lower your temperature.


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Find That Perfect Trail


Trail running and riding is SO much fun! To help combat the high heat, try to find a trail with lots of trees and shade. Not only will you keep cooler, but who doesn't want to look at a beautiful trail full of trees? 😋

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Gear Up 

Wear those hats and sunglasses when you're out! I love to wear the hats I get for my half marathons. They are light, easily washable and made of that techy fabric that wicks sweat up and away. Keeping shade on your face helps so much. I also have a Brooks Running hat I love to wear. So far my favorite running sunglasses are form a company called Goodr. They are relatively cheap at $25, come in a vast amount of colors, and are POLARIZED! For $25!! They also don't slip, bounce, or pinch behind your ears. I've been using mine for the last year and couldn't be happier. Below are some fun flag print sunglasses if you missed out on the Brooks victory shoes this go around. 


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During or Post Workout Cold Towel

A month ago at the Hospital Hill race in Kansas City, one of the items each runner was given upon crossing the finish line was a soaked ice cold towel, and honestly that was a lifesaver. The towel was cool too since it said the race name on it and was shaped like a long skinny rectangle. That cold on the back of my neck (and really all down my shirt lol) was the best thing after a long hot run, and helped me cool down almost immediately. When I used to BMX race as a kid, my dad would always keep an ice cold washcloth in our cooler. During one state race at Cowtown BMX in Ft. Worth, it was over 100 degrees, so I raced with it wrung out and under my helmet. I stayed cool the entire time!


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Cooling Gear 

I went to a sporting goods store recently for some GU Gels, and they had a big display of cooling towels and headbands. I have a ton of towels already, but the prospect of a stretchy headband that takes sweat and makes it cold really intrigues me, and if it works like it claims to it might be perfect for the hot months. Has anyone else tried one out?
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Take A Dip

It won't keep you cool DURING your workout (unless you're swimming laps), but jump in the pool after! Swimming is something I miss the rest of the year.




SUNSCREEN!!!! 

Never forget sunscreen when you're outside, it's too important. Not to mention, some companies have come out with "cooling" sunscreen sprays. I have yet to try a cooling version, but definitely will this Summer. Right now my favorite sunscreens to wear are in a spray can (so I can get my back), and either claim to be heavily water resistant or made for sports. I've tried the cheaper ones, got a mile down the road and then noticed white rivulets pouring off me. Not too attractive, or useful. 😓

Found at Target, because Target is awesome ❤

While these ideas are in no way the only ways to keep cool while it's burning out (fans, misters, the list could go on), these are some of my favorites, and have really come in handy more than once. Get excited - the Summer's here, and it's going to be a good one! Stay COOL out there guys. 😎😎

How do you keep cool outside in the Summer?

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