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running in summer, Birmingham, Alabama, heat training

It’s hot in Alabama in the summer. That’s an understatement. It’s not a “let’s sit outside and get tan” heat, it’s more of an “um, my skin is melting off!” heat. Dashing to your car from an air-conditioned haven can easily become an Olympic sport. If you’re a runner, the months from May to October are just plain miserable. And if you’re a Jersey transplant who can happily run in shorts in the snow, it’s plain hell.

Now that I’ve lived in Alabama for close to seven years, one might argue that I should be accustomed to the heat and humidity. Wrong. But, I have come up with a few coping mechanisms that make running in summer slightly easier:

running in summer, Birmingham, Alabama, heat training

Is that water in our cups? We’ll never tell

Hydrate—Channel your inner camel and drink, then drink some more. Then go home and rehydrate with some delicious craft beer to numb the pain.

running in summer, Birmingham, Alabama, heat training

Run faster – the homeowner won’t catch you

Run through sprinklersRemember when you were little and would spend the summers running through sprinklers with your friends? Do it during a run. It’s the same thing, only trespassing. Technically.

running in summer, Birmingham, Alabama, heat training

4:55 a.m. and we’re ready to go

Start at ungodly hoursIf the time on your alarm starts with a 3, there’s a slight chance that you will finish your run before your shoes melt to the pavement. However, this tactic does not protect you from the humidity.

running in summer, Birmingham, Alabama, heat training

Letting my greyhound ribs catch some rays because it was hot and I didn’t give an F

 Minimize clothing—I’m a firm believer in doing whatever you have to do to be comfortable. Even if that means running shirtless. Even if you don’t have rippling muscles. Bonus points if you do.

running in summer, Birmingham, Alabama, heat training

Ice bath mid-run

 Keep a cool head—Sure, hats are meant to protect you from the sun and frizzy hair, but they’re way more effective as ice buckets. Yes, your head will look lumpy for a few minutes. No, you won’t care.

running in summer, Birmingham, Alabama, heat training

Yes the humidity that day was 98%, but you wouldn’t see this sunrise if you were in your air-conditioned house

 Embrace the suck—When instinct tells you to sit inside your freezer, go outside and run. Go out in 100 degrees, 100% humidity, at high noon, and eventually your body will acclimate. Or so they tell me.

What do you do to stay cool in the summer?