In a perfect world we work only a few hours a day and still be able to run, hike and bike while the weather was cool. Living in Phoenix during the summer months 'cool' is a relative term. In the peak of the season temperatures might drop to a brisk 95 degrees before steady climbing back up and hitting the triple digits. Waking up early before the sun provides some relieve, but primarily it is psychological.
Summer months complicate my running schedule by forcing me to start work just before sunrise, which leaves me n time to run pre-work. Add in the necessary sleep and options to run are limited. Although not ideal, the best time to run has been directly after work. Typically this means running in full sun at the hottest time of the day. The positive to this is that I have come up with a few tips for staying cooler.
2. Long Sleeves or Arm Sleeves
There are two methods of sun protection that exists; the 'slathering' and 'shade'. The first is exactly as it sounds, just cake on the sunscreen and then reapply and reapply and reapply. This method works fine if you are not overly working yourself and sweating the sunscreen away. But even the easiest of activities in 100+ degree weather creates sweat. My preferred method is the second. Wearing a loose fitting long sleeve shirt or arm sleeves eliminates the need for sunscreen. Just make sure you are wearing items with a UPF rating to ensure the best protection. A loose fitting shirt is more ideal then the arm sleeves because it allows a tiny micro environment to be created between your skin the material of the shirt. The sweat creates a layer on your skin and the shirt fabric allows air to pass through thus cooling you. It is like wearing your own personal swamp cooler, and it works!
This seems like it is a no brainer, but finding the right balance between drinking too much and too little is critical. The best solution I have found for managing my hydration is to first make sure you are not dehydrated before you head out the door. This doesn't mean 'camel up' as you are lacing your shoes, but rather make sure you have had a consistent intake of water over the few hours leading up to your planned run. While on the run try not to take in large amounts of water. Quick sips seem to work best for me. When the heat is on I try to take sips every 5 minutes, ensuring that a constant trickle of water is headed down the hatch.
4. Listen to Your Body
Even in the best of conditions your body is the ultimate decision maker. Yes you can overcome some things with your mind, but in the heat you need to be cautious. Vomiting, cramps, dizziness, headache, etc. are all symptoms that you are pushing beyond your current capabilities. Heat exhaustion which leads to heat stroke can cause serious bodily harm and needs to be avoided at all cost. Snagging that Strava CR is not worth your life. Planning your activity with amble water, and body protection will help ensure you never have to deal with these symptoms. If you find yourself feeling 'off' immediately find some shade, drink up and take the rest of your activity easy.
5. Stop Making Excuses
It is very easy to make excuses not to go out and run when it is hot. You Northern dwellers can relate in the winter time. Using the methods mentioned above can really help to make the activity less daunting. You may not be able to keep up your running mileage but even getting out is an accomplishment. Because your body is having to work so hard to regulate it's temperature, your likelihood of a PR is unlikely. Accept it, and just go out and move.