Well we are in the thick of it… its the middle of summer and sometimes running or being active outside in this heat can be… a struggle!
I am going to cover a few of my favourite items that help keep me cool and just as importantly protected from the sun, during summer training! Other then of course trying to plan runs when its coolest in early morning or evening and keeping hydrated there are a couple of things we can do.
- The cooling towel.
- There are lots of different “cooling towel” brand, shapes and styles out there. Here is what to look for:
- Making sure the towel is long enough that it come around your neck and you have extra material. I have had a cooling towel that was to short and didn’t wrap all the way around my neck. It was a pain in the butt to use while running because it wouldn’t stay in place.
- This might take some trial and error, however I would recommend to find a towel that is soft, meaning doesn’t get stiff when it drys… My previous cooling towel would become stiff as it dried, also making it difficult to run with or to move around to a different area unless re wetting it.
- A material that is breathable will dry more pliable and soft keeping it from getting heavy and stiff.
- A good cooling towel should: Be run under water for one minute and it be ready to go. The towel helps cool us down and is comfortable to wear and use. It is machine washable, easy to store and is durable and long lasting.
- Your other option would be a cooling bandana: the same cooling concept as a cooling towel however smaller and has the ability to tie at the neck in the front. I would say the one con to the bandana is how small it is… there isn’t as much skin being touched for cooling. A smaller surface area is covered, however that being said it may just be enough if you are running and stay in place with the neck tie.
- I would recommend visiting this website for a comparison chart and a great description breaking down each type of cooling towel and the different materials they are made from: https://thoroughlyreviewed.com/sports/best-cooling-towel/
2. The Buff
- The all reliable buff option! Buffs are one of the most functional pieces of outdoor gear available to us. Its something that I always have on me, always in my back pack and always have in my outback 10 essentials bundle. It is essentialy a wrap of material.
- Buffs can be worn in many different ways:
- Buffs can provide protection from the sun, you can get them wet in a similar way to a cooling towel and wear them around your neck… the benefits are endless here. They don’t retain the “coolness” as long as a cooling towel would but because of its multi functional purpose I would highly recommend adding a buff to your gear collection!
- You can purchase a Run Like A Girl Buff here: https://run-like-a-girl-ca.myshopify.com/products/rlag-buff
3. Arm Sleeves
- Another staple in the outdoor/running gear wardrobe, not just to keep you warm on those cool fall mornings but to help keep you cool and sun protected on the sunniest of days! Athletes from all sports find great use for them!
- Quality sun sleeves provide UPF 50+ protection against the harmful UV rays of the sun. You will need to look specifically for a UPF rating on the tag, not all arm sleeves or clothing for that matter is specifically made to block out those rays. Unlike sunblock which must be reapplied every two hours when you are outside and every hour when you get wet, quality sun sleeves offer you nonstop protection whenever you are wearing them.
- Sun sleeves keep your arms cool which in turn keeps you cool. The fabric of quality sun sleeves, wicks away moisture and makes your arms feel as if they are in air conditioning. The slightest air movement such as a light breeze or the air that you feel as you cycle or are running will feel cool to the arm and keep you feeling cool and comfortable. Even on the hottest days, you will be able to enjoy your sport, hobby or outdoor work without feeling oppressed by the heat.
- I am not a skin or sunscreen expert however I will touch on a few sunscreens that I love and have found to work amazing while out there sweating! There is an overwhelming amount of “controversial” information out there about sunscreens and whats good and whats bad… all I can say is for me I choose to have a clean sunscreen.
- Thinksport or Thinkbaby are my number 1 recommendations for sunscreen. Ideal for daily use, as it contains no biologically harmful chemicals, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, or UV chemical absorbers. Offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection and uses a non-nano formulation. Absorbs easily with a non-oily feel, and doesn’t have an obtrusive smell like some organic sunscreens.
- Broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection (per FDA 2012 Rules).
- Packaging that does not contain BPA, vinyl, or phthalates.
- Rated at 1, by Environmental Working Group since 2010.
- Water resistance for 80 minutes.
- Free of paraben, phthalates, PABA and 1,4 dioxanes.
- Active ingredient: Zinc oxide 20% (non-nano). Inactive ingredients: cetyl dimethicone, hydrogenated castor oil, magnesium sulfate (epsom salt), sunflower oil, jojoba oil, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tocopherols (vitamin E), olive oil, raspberry seed oil, cranberry seed oil, hyaluronic acid (made from vegetable), glucose & glucose oxidase and lactoperoxidase, currant, grapefruit.
- I have worn Thinksport sunscreen while racing, running, SUPing, you name the outdoor activity I have done it wearing this sunscreen and it never melts or sweats off! Its awesome!
- There are a few others that I would put in the same category as Thinksport: Sun Bum, Rubber Ducky and BU Sunscreen.
5. A Hat
- Seems like an obvious one… but yes its simple a hat. A lightweight or mesh hat is going to protect your face and eyes from the glaring sun and in the long run help keep you cool. While we are out there running or being active the tendency is to wear a “baseball” style hat… its great and will work, however if you are really looking for some sun protection give a full 360 wide brim hat a try. You can find light weight ones that you can still wear while running. Some brands to check out: Salomon, Outdoor Research and Columbia.
- Your other hat option, which is a big hit in the ultra trail running community: The “baseball hat” style with the long neck. This is ideal, I would recommend to look for the hats with the neck protection that button or snap off so it has good options for different situations! Look for: Outdoor Research (for snap off option), Salomon also makes a hat with neck protection.