In the middle of summer, going out for a 3-Day training walk in the heat may be the last thing you’d like to do. But if you decide to venture out and get some training miles in on hot days, here are some tips/hacks that might make the sun-baked miles a little easier to bear.
First, a few obvious reminders, which I’m sure you already know, but we must repeat anyway…
- Always wear sunscreen, with a minimum of SPF 30. Don’t forget to cover your ears, any exposed parts of your scalp (better yet, cover your head with a hat) and lips too.
- Drink LOTS of water, and ideally, rotate water and sports drinks.
- If your area is experiencing hazardous heat levels, or you just don’t feel right out in the high temperatures, stop. There will always be other times to walk, and risking your health and comfort are not worth it.
- For ALL training walks, remain alert and aware of your surroundings. Try not to walk alone, or if you must, be sure someone knows where you’ll be.
Okay, on to the hacks!
- Fill a water bottle halfway and freeze it on its side. That way, when you fill the rest with water, it’ll cool the water more uniformly, so you’ll get refreshing cold with every sip.
- Fact: outside temperatures are typically coolest right before the sun rises. If possible—especially for longer walks—get out and start moving close to dawn. You’ll beat the heat and also finish early enough to still have a productive day (or a long and lazy day if that’s what you want).
- Remember that an important part of your 3-Day training is cross-training (i.e., exercise that isn’t walking), and summer is the perfect time to throw some swimming, water aerobics, stand-up paddleboarding or rowing into your fitness routine.
- When dressing for a warm weather walk, synthetic materials that draw moisture away from the body are better than 100% cotton. Also, light colors will deflect sunlight, keeping you cooler. (More info about best practices for what to wear is here.)
- Did you know that bra coolers were a thing? They’re basically little cold packs that fit snugly into the underside of your bra, keeping your “girls” cool in warm conditions. Search online for several options.
- Get a cooling wrap to wear on your neck. You can even make these wraps fairly easily; a Pinterest search of “cooling neck wrap” will show you dozens of how-to’s. Online retailers and drug stores also sell them.
- Looking for a well-shaded route to walk? A quick internet search of “shaded walk [city name]” will come back with some good results that you may have never considered.
- If you can’t walk in natural shade, you can make your own by carrying a sun umbrella.
- Pick a route that has lots of places to stop and rest. Remember, when you’re walking in the heat, you should be drinking more water (and sports drinks, if possible) than usual, so plan your route to pass places where you can use the bathroom and refill your water. Convenience stores or coffee and fast food chains are good for this.
- If you plan to take a long training walk in hot conditions, see if you can recruit a friend or family member to be your personal support vehicle. They can drive to meet you at points along your route with drink refills, fresh socks and sunscreen, and a cool car to sit in for a few minutes. Seeing those friendly faces can also help rally you onward when the heat may be tempting you to call it quits.
- For no more than a few bucks, you can get a hand-held, battery-powered personal fan to carry. It won’t be quite the same as stepping into an air conditioned building, but if you’re out in the heat and there’s no natural breeze, that little bit of moving air from a fan can really feel nice on sweaty faces, arms and necks. Any drug store or superstore with a summer section will carry these, or you can easily find them through online sellers (is there anything you can’t get online?).
You can find a few other warm weather tips here. What else helps keep you cool when you’re walking in the summer?