🏃 Life hack for staying cool when running in the heat ☀️
⚠️ Disclaimer: What I’m sharing is something that has worked well for me, and may or may not work well for you. This article is not medical or health advice. Everyone’s body is different, and you should consult with a medical professional about concerns you might have regarding exercising in extreme heat. You should also educate yourself about how to avoid and recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Always listen to your body and don’t take unnecessary risks.
A few years ago I was looking for cooling materials and stumbled upon MISSION’s cooling apparel. I bought one of their hats and gaiters. The hat performed well while walking, hiking, and doing yard work outside. The gaiter also did well doing the same activities, but it didn’t help much when I ran.
In an attempt to have the gaiter perform better, I wet it, wrung it out, and then froze it. That kept the gaiter cooler for a little longer, but not long enough. But it gave me an idea that has worked out very well. Instead of wetting and freezing it, I started putting ice cubes around the bottom and then rolling it up. I found when I put it on my neck, it would slowly melt during the run and my body would heat up slower and I could run further.
I think this life hack works well for a few reasons:
- Some of the ice sits over my carotid arteries and is likely helping to cool my blood.
- The circle of ice significantly cools the area around my neck and helps make my head noticeably cooler.
- The ice melts down the front and back of my shirt and it has a constant cooling effect on my torso.
How to add ice to the cooling gaiter
Step 1: Fill a bowl up with ice cubes and turn the gaiter inside out.
Step 2: Fill the inside of the end of the gaiter with ice.
Step 3: Wrap and roll the ice up about halfway up the gaiter.
Step 4: Take the other end of the gaiter and wrap it around the bottom part that has the ice. Flip it over and pull the end without ice up.
Step 5: Pull it over your head and put it around your neck.
After I put it on, I like to shift most of the ice around to the back of my neck, but I leave a few cubes resting over both of my carotid arteries. As I run and the ice over my carotid arteries melts, I will usually move some of the ice on the back of my neck forward over my arteries.
Additional tips for running in the heat
Make sure your body is cool before running. If you’ve been doing things that would make you even a little warm, your body will likely heat up faster. I prepare for running in the heat by doing the following:
- Drink plenty of water during the hours leading up to the run. Being well hydrated before you run is very important. Drinking a lot of water right before a run is not being well hydrated. That’s not how the body works.
- Find a cool spot in your home. I work remotely and my small home office has a mini-split air conditioner. Before I run in the heat, I will usually turn the unit on and set it to 68 degrees until I feel cold. My setup isn’t typical, but the important thing is to find a place in your home that isn’t warm and where your body can feel cool.
- Reduce movement. As you hydrate and remain in a cool spot, don’t do much with your body. I typically use my computer, but you could also use the time to read, meditate, or lay down (without falling asleep).