I admit that one reason I love training on the Monterey Peninsula is because the weather is perfect for running. But being a North Carolinian, I do love the humidity, and I make lots of east coast trips where you have to run in stifling heat and feel like your head is going to explode. My recent trip back East inspired me to give a few running tips for staying cool before, during, and after workouts.
Before: Obviously, starting cool and hydrated is an advantage because it will delay the rise in your core and skin temperature. Ice cold water, ice packs and a wet shirt can help. Ice packs to key pulse points such as behind the neck, temples, armpits, inner elbows, and groin, knees and ankles will help cool you the fastest.
During workouts: Trying to keep your core temperature under control once you are working out is a bit harder. Making your own wearable ice cooling bandana is an option or buy a ice bandana (yep, they sell them on amazon). But if you don’t want to wait 2 days, a handkerchief and roll ice cubes tied around your neck will do the trick. Also, ladies, a wet frozen sock or something stuffed between your shoulder blades and bra might help. Men, I got nothing.
If you are doing a workout, bringing a cooler and holding ice cubes over your inner wrists will also cool the blood before it circulates. I often used this just before races as ice is usually available.
Post-workout: Jumping into a full ice bath might seem like a good idea, but it can delay the desirable inflammation and recovery phase. Unless you are needing to cool the body off fast because of a heat exhaustion emergency, focus on using the ice or cold packs over the pulse points of your body. It’s a more optimal recovery method.
Drink cold water and make sure to hydrate during and after your workout. You also may need to adjust your times and expectations on a very hot and humid day. Also, give yourself time to acclimate which usually takes about 10-14 days. Above all, listen to your body and be safe.
Physical therapist and retired elite runner.
*Medical Disclaimer. … The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.