The summer is hot and with the vast majority of the obstacle racing season taking place in the summer staying cool on course can often be a challenge. When the temperature spikes into the 90's or higher it is time to take a few precautions to help keep cool and stem off heat related issues on a course. Follow these steps when the temperatures spike for a happy and healthy mud run or obstacle race.
Sunscreen is often your first line of defense for an obstacle race or mud run. Apply sunscreen in the morning before you go through registration. Many remember to put on sunscreen just before starting the race, but often shade can be a rare commodity at events, slather the sunscreen on before leaving your car.
Applying sunscreen before you mark your bib number on your body with a permanent marker will help you be able to wash it off after the race.
Carry What You Need
While most obstacle races and mud runs that are less than 5 miles, a participant can get away without carrying any nutrition or fuel, when the temperatures rise, and the course is mountainous it is important to be prepared for all conditions.
Wear a Hat
When the sun beats down in the summer a great way to stay cooler is to wear a hat. Find a hat that is lightweight and covers your face for race day. To keep yourself additionally cool dunk the hat in water before the race. As the water evaporates, it will help keep your head cool in even the hottest of temperatures.
Wear a Buff
Buffs have become a popular item over the last couple of years. They are an item that has a variety of uses, but on a hot day, they can help keep you cool on course. The best way to maximize the use of a buzz is to soak it in water and stick it in your freezer the night before the race. Put the buff in a ziplock bag and pull it out right before the race begins. Place the buff around your neck; this will act as a personal air conditioner throughout the race. If you need to you can re-wet it on course with your hydration or at an aid station.
Sometimes Cotton has a Place
The first rule of OCR is not to wear cotton (trust us cotton, mud and water don't go well together), but when the temperatures soar above 100 on race day, that rule can change. Similar to the buff a cheap white cotton shirt on race day can help keep you cool when the temperatures are extremely high. During the Badwater 135 race, known as one of the most brutal races in the world running through Death Valley, many participants don an ice water soaked white cotton t-shirt to stay cool.
This can be applied to obstacle racing and mud runs. Much like the buff soak your shirt in icy water before running the race. You will be chilled when you put it on, but during the race, it will help regulate heat. Normally we say stay away from the cotton, but a white cotton ice soaked shirt can make the difference when temps soar.