20 Tips to Stay Cool on a Summer Run

12. Head for Water

Running near water—whether it's along a river, lake or ocean—is usually cooler and breezier. Urban streams often have paths running alongside of them, if you take the time to explore. And even if the air temperature is about the same, you'll likely feel cooler just being near water.

13. End With a Dunk

There is absolutely no better place to start a run than at a pool. Why? Because when you finish your run there, you can take a refreshing dip. Once a week or so this summer, bring your bathing suit and running gear to the pool.

More: Sun Safety Tips for Your Summer Run

14. Run Fountain-to-Fountain

As a fallback for those beastly hot days, design a run that takes in frequent water stops. Water fountains are the obvious choices, but there are many more possibilities. When you map out your route, consider gas stations, health clubs, hospitals, schools, convenience stores and city parks.

15. Make Like a Camel

Especially on long runs or trail runs where you'll be away from water sources, bring your own. Use a water belt, pouch or holster for bottles or simply carry it (you'll get used to it). Another option: The night before your long Sunday run, take your bike or car out and stash several bottles along your next day's running route.

16. Heed the Heat Warnings

You need to be very sensitive to the warning signs of heat illness, which, if it progresses, can be fatal. If you feel trouble coming on, you need to stop running, find some shade, get liquids and then find a ride or walk home. Following are signs of impending heat illness:

  • Headache or intense heat buildup in the head.
  • Confusion or lack of concentration.
  • Loss of muscular control.
  • Oversweating followed by clammy skin and cessation of sweating.
  • Hot and cold flashes.
  • Upset stomach, muscle cramps, vomiting, dizziness.

17. Decrease the Speed

Do your speed training in the morning or evening. Otherwise, you're really going to put a strain on your system. The heart literally beats faster in high heat, as it's pumping extra blood out to the skin as part of the body's evaporation/cooling mechanism. You won't be able to run as fast, so don't try to.

More: Protect Your Skin in the Sun

18. Lower Your Expectations

In training and in races, you won't be able to run as fast as you would on cool days. If race day comes, and it's super hot that morning, ease back and treat it as a training run — and drink at all the water stops.

19. Watch What You Drink

Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means they increase urine output. This puts you at greater risk of dehydration. Since hot weather is already causing you to dehydrate faster, be especially careful about your caffeine and alcohol intake in summer. People in my part of the country drink a lot of iced tea. Be careful if you do, as iced tea contains a significant amount of caffeine. An alternative: herbal iced tea.

20. Bag It if It's too Hot

Some days are going to be unsafe for running, especially if you live in an urban area where air pollution is also a concern. On those occasions, consider skipping running altogether. Or run inside on a treadmill. Or hit the pool for some laps.

Sure, it's going to be hot this summer. No way around that. But with some planning and a little imagination, you can minimize the downside and make it work for you. Stay flexible, have fun and, above all, be safe.

More: 4 Key Hydration Tips for Runners

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