Cooling Off During Summer Trail Runs

If you’re like me at all when it comes to running, then you’ve been eagerly watching the weather as the temperatures steadily rise to consistently higher levels. As winter turns to spring, and spring to summer, trail runners seem to come out of the woodwork and flood urban and rural trails to soak up as much of the nice weather as possible. However, the sometimes downright oppressive heat of the summer—though a welcome change from the winter snow, for some—can be potentially harmful if you’re not prepared. Surprisingly, though, one of the best methods runners can employ to remain focused, healthy, and cool during the torrid summer months comes in the form of what some might consider an unlikely solution: Slurpees.

The heat can be quite uncomfortable during a run. It makes us sluggish, cranky, and can pose serious health risks once our core temperatures rise from prolonged exertion and exposure. As the temperatures rise, your blood shifts from the muscles that are working hard to exercise to the skin, in order to facilitate perspiration and evaporate the internal heat. Recently, however, it’s been discovered that drinking a frozen drink, like a Slurpee, before a run in hot weather can give your body what it needs to run longer.

I’ve spoken to fellow trail runners who maintain that the frozen drink lowers your core temperature before a run, which means you can go longer before reaching uncomfortable levels. Running in the heat will raise your core temperature to higher levels faster than normal. Frozen drinks consist of ice, not just liquid, which is significantly cooler. Furthermore, your body actually has to process the ice, and the transition from a solid to a liquid requires energy. Your body will transfer this required energy, which creates heat, to your stomach to aid the process, which take that heat away from your muscles and keeps them cooled down before your run.

As welcome as the warmth of summer is after a frigid winter, the heat can be more than a little rough. If you’ve ever ran in the summer, you know what I mean. Those 90-degree days make demand every bit of strength and will from you just to move each leg forward. To counter this and prepare your body for a hot run, try to drink something frozen roughly a half hour beforehand. You’ll be able to run longer and more comfortably, which will make the heat a little more bearable.