From scorching summer heat and freezing winter temperatures to burning blisters and uncomfortable chafing, there are a million challenges you'll face as a runner. But you don't have to let these obstacles keep you from logging miles.
We tapped running experts for their top tips, tricks and tweaks for upgrading your running game. Read on for five tactics to help you survive any type of weather, save money and make your daily runs go a little more smoothly.
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1. Use Ice to Keep Cool
Let's face it: Running in the heat can be a bummer. Luckily, there are ways to make the sweltering temps suck less. "To stay cool, I put ice cubes under my hat," says Deena Kastor, Olympic medalist and co-author of Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory. Or drop a cube or two down your sports bra for an extra refreshing blast of cold.
It's also a smart idea to apply ice to pulse points on your neck and wrists, says running coach John Honerkamp. Cooling these areas, where your veins are close to the surface of the skin, will help you lower your body temperature faster.
2. Stay Warm With Arm Sleeves
Here's the dilemma: When it's cold outside, you need to dress accordingly, but halfway through your run, you're already sweating bullets. Instead of packing on bulky layers that'll weigh you down, consider wearing arm sleeves, says Honerkamp.
"They allow me to not have to commit to a long-sleeve like in the NYC Marathon when it can be in the 40s. So, when I warm up, I can roll them down to my wrists, and it's like I'm wearing a t-shirt." Bonus? Arm sleeves can also act as pockets to store your energy gels.
And if you don't want to invest in arm sleeves, chop the feet off a pair of long tube socks and, voila, instant cheap running sleeves. This way, you'll have zero guilt tossing them in the trash mid-race when you're nice and warm.
3. Store Your Keys on Your Shoe
Finding a place to store your keys is a runner's conundrum as old as time. Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true tricks to stow your keys that'll keep them from bouncing around your shorts or falling loose from your pockets.
"When it comes to running with keys, I usually take my key off the bigger ring and tie it into my laces," says Kastor. "For security, I tuck the blade of the key into the crisscross of my laces."
Need another idea? Put your keys in your pocket and wrap a rubber band around the inside lining. This will secure your keys and keep them from jingling freely (or falling out).
4. Prevent Chafing and Blisters With Coconut Oil
Friction is not your friend, but if you run all the time, you probably think blisters and chafing are inevitable. The good news? They don't have to be. "To prevent chafing and blisters, try a little coconut oil," says Kastor, who smears some on the balls of her feet and around her toes to help when the mileage starts to take its toll.
What about wind burn? A little Vaseline on your nose and cheeks can help combat wind burn and cold, dry air, Honerkamp says.
5. Weather-Proof Your Gear With Duct Tape
"A good shoe choice always protects from the terrain and elements," says Kastor. But even the best gear has its limits when faced with torrential rain or heavy snow. For a cheap, DIY solution, duct tape your running shoes to help keep out water.
If that doesn't work? "My go-to hack to dry my wet shoes out after a rainy run is stuffing them with newspaper," says Honerkamp, explaining that the paper will absorb the moisture.