Keep Cool On Race Day – Summer Running Tips
Race running is an extra challenge in hot weather. It’s important to stay as cool as possible on race day. Try these Summer running tips.
Hydration Before, During And After
It goes without saying that you need to stay on top of hydration in order to stay cool during Summer running races, but what about in the lead-up to the race? Make sure you drink plenty of water (with added electrolytes) in the days leading up to the race. Don’t risk going in to race day already dehydrated, particularly if you’ve got an early start or a long distance to travel. Take water with you to sip on before the race, and pack water, coconut water, electrolytes or watered down fruit juice for post-race rehydration.
Use The Facilities
Many longer races will have water stations and aid stations with water and sponges. Use them! Grab a sponge, squeeze the water over your head and the back of your neck, and consider stashing the sponge in the back of your waistband or even down the front of your bra if it’s comfortable. And if any kind spectator has their garden hose out to cool off the runners, take advantage and run through it! Just be careful not to slip.
What about during the race? If your race is 10km or longer (Autumn half marathon season is approaching), think about what you’ll take on board during the race. Gels are a good idea, as they have added electrolytes and potassium to keep your body in balance as you sweat under the Summer sun.
What To Wear
Think about what you’ll wear during your race to help keep you cool. Light colours are best, and light wicking fabrics are a clever choice. Avoid fabrics which will soak up sweat and hang heavily on you. Choose technical fabrics designed for sportswear and runners in particular. You may find that tighter fitting clothing actually keeps you cooler, and long sleeves or longer shorts (or capris) make you feel cooler than vest and shorts which leave a lot of skin exposed. Trial and error during training runs will help you find the best hot weather running race kit.
Shade Your Eyes
We find that if our face and eyes are protected during races, we feel cooler and less frazzled by the heat. So try a peaked cap or visor and specially designed running sunglasses with lenses tinted in a light colour. Something about keeping the heat and direct sunlight off your face and out of your eyes makes it easier to cope with racing in the Summer heat.
Take a look at the running route before race day. Will there be shade? Is it next to a body of water (which means you may get reflected heat and glare?) Is it all very exposed? Try to plan your race strategically so you can keep as cool as possible. Run in the shade, be prepared for any exposed sections of the course, and put mental strategies in place for how you’ll cope with reflected heat and glare.