With hundreds of race events throughout the country (many available through Virtual Run US), summer is one of the best times to race! However, heat and humidity don't always make for the best running conditions. High temperatures can turn running from slightly uncomfortable to downright dangerous if you're not careful. Not to mention, extreme heat can severely impact your race times and performance. Thankfully, there are ways to manage the heat while you're running, virtually or otherwise. Here are some of the solutions we found to work the best when staying cool during your next run event.
- Stay Hydrated This tip may seem like an obvious one, but we've seen too many runners make the mistake of not staying hydrated enough throughout their race. Often, you can underestimate the sheer amount of liquid your body is using to cool you down. So, to best prepare before a race, drink a couple of glasses of water the morning of. And while on your run, be sure to have a refillable water bottle handy.
- Wear Comfortable and Cool Clothes When we say cool clothes, we don't mean "stylistic." To ensure you can keep your body temperature manageable, wear clothes like shorts, t-shirts and tanks that allow plenty of airflow. Additionally, consider the materials your clothes are made from. There are fabrics made to absorb moisture better while staying "breathable." Polyester is one such example of an excellent material for staying cool.
- Stay Away from Dark Colors Staying on the topic of clothes, you must also consider the color of what you're wearing. Dark colors typically absorb sunlight, causing you to heat up faster when in direct contact with the sun's rays. Conversely, light colors reflect heat. Thus, if you want to keep yourself from heating up, keep your dark t-shirts in the closet.
- Pulse Points Not sure what pulse points are? Put simply, pulse points are the areas of your body where blood runs closest to the skin. And why are pulse points essential to know when running in the heat? They're the best spots to apply damp towels or cold packs if looking to cool down. Applying a cold object before, during or after a race works to manage your body temperature. However, per WebMD, refrain from using this trick more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Running Accessories Sweatbands aren't only for show; they work considerably well when keeping your body cool. Head or wrist bands go over previously mentioned pulse points, collecting moisture and sweat to keep said areas cool.
- Stay in the Shade If running a traditional race event, finding shade to run under is more or less out of your control. However, if participating in a virtual run, this isn't the case. Virtual races give you the flexibility of choosing your racecourse. Choose a wooded trail or a shaded sidewalk where you can keep cool. And if temperatures become too unbearable, you can always finish your virtual race on an indoor track or treadmill.
- Finding the Best Time Again, if you're running a traditional race event, you're bound by the time set forth by race organizers. However, virtual running allows you to choose your own time and day for a race event. You might be able to find a day with lower temperatures or an overcast sky to run your race. Or, you can choose to run early in the morning or later in the evening, where the sun and temperatures are not at their worst. Overall, virtual races allow runners incredible flexibility if looking to stay cool.
Find the Perfect Race
We've already mentioned virtual races a few times and how they provide opportunities for cooler running in the summer. However, a virtual run offers other benefits as well! For example, you don't have to go out of your way to make it to a specific event; instead, you race where and when you prefer. Furthermore, you can run your race with a few close friends or by yourself, if that's more comfortable for you. And with dozens of races to choose from with Virtual Run US, you can find a race that fits your style (with the best swag) or find an event that supports a cause you're interested in. The possibilities are endless when it comes to virtual races with Virtual Run US!
Additionally, if looking for an easy way to track your race times and compete with friends locally or around the country, you can count on Virtual Run US's race-tracking software, SportStats. Create a profile, post your best times and compete with racers all online! To learn more about Virtual Run US, SportStats, or what virtual races are best for you, you can reach us directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.