Summer Running: Five Unconventional Ways to Beat the Heat

Summer is now officially in full swing. You can tell because the kids are out of school, the NBA and NHL seasons are finally over, and everyone who blogs about running is writing their annual posts about dealing with the heat.

Running in extreme temperatures is tough. And while it’s important to keep your body hydrated and your skin slathered with copious amounts of sunblock, I feel the running community needs to think outside of the box more when it comes to managing our summer exercise needs.

Here are five completely untested ways to help you overcome the sweltering heat and unbearable sunshine during the summer months.

Mind Over Temperature
Look it’s hot outside. I mean, really hot. So let’s pretend it’s not. When I was a child and the temps were steadily climbing, the nuns at my Catholic grade school would insist that sitting still and NOT thinking about the blazing heat would cool us down. While I don’t remember this actually working, when you’re in a pinch, there’s something comforting about putting aside all logic and believing in a solution that’s preposterous and irrational. Of course, this philosophy also brought us a Donald Trump presidential nomination, so…

Schedule Slurpee Stops
Hydrating during the summer months is always important. However, water breaks, while necessary, don’t really hit the spot when it’s in the 90s. So if you live in a city with an abundance of 7-11 convenience stores, why not schedule a few Slurpee stops? I recommend plotting out a course that allows you to stop for a delicious, sugary Slurpee at least every two miles. If 7-11s aren’t ubiquitous in your region, feel free to substitute Slush Puppies, Icees, or Wendy’s Frostees.

Nothing hydrates and refuels your body like a giant cup of frozen sugar.

Run in a Pool
If you have access to a pool, get in it. (I’ll wait.) Okay, now run in place. Feels better than running on blazing hot asphalt, right? Plus, it’s probably a more challenging workout and much easier on your joints. Besides, when we eventually enter our golden years, aquatic exercise will be the last physical activity available to us, so we might as well get a head start.

Don’t Run at All
If it’s really hot outside, don’t run. As someone who’s always looking for excuses not to run, I can tell you that extreme weather is the absolute best justification for taking a day off. You’d be a fool not to take advantage of these opportunities when they fall in your lap. In fact, you might want to rethink what constitutes “too hot.” I’m thinking anything north of 70 should be reclassified as “dangerous” and “unhealthy.”

Move to the Pacific Northwest
While other parts of the country are setting records for high temperatures we here in the Pacific Northwest are barely breaking a sweat. Our usual June Gloom was in full effect this past month and there were plenty of days in which we were lucky to crack 65. While our mild climate is great for running, I sometimes wonder if summer is even a real season up here. I grew up in Syracuse, New York where summers are hot and unbearably humid. Locals secretly love this as it gives them something to complain about once the snow has finally melted.

Just a typical June day at the track in the Pacific Northwest.

No matter what your method of dealing with the heat, make sure you take the time to enjoy everything summer has to offer. Because before you know it the kids will be back in school, football will take up an embarrassing amount of your weekend, and running will require base layers and fleece. And who knows? You might even find yourself missing the heat.


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