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Cooling advice for ultra-trail

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  • Cooling advice for ultra-trail


    I've registered for a trail ultra marathon next fall. If I finish it's going to take me between 16 and 20 hours to finish. I'm wondering about cooling strategy as I have no experience yet with cooling vests, hats, neck wraps, etc. The start shouldn't be too much of a problem with heat as we start at night and the weather is cool. But in the afternoon, it might get warm and going uphill is usually a challenge. My body gets hot and my vision blurry as it works hard to go up and what goes up eventually goes down and going down with blurry vision is less fun once I got hot going up.

    So, any cooling strategy might help. The trick is that I only need cooling halfway. There is one checkpoint where you can leave stuff halfway. I thought of leaving a cooling device there. However, it'll stay about 12 hours there before I pick it up.

    1) Can cooling devices stay effective for that long if not used? In a small soft cooler?

    2) There are plenty of cool streams. Can I take advantage of this.

    3) Will these devices stay cool for 4 hours? More?

    There might not be such a thing. It needs to be not too heavy and not too bulky as I'll be wearing a pack-vest for hydration and food.

    Maybe just a hat or neck wrap I dip in a stream every hour or two? I've looked at the vests, etc, listed on the site but was wondering if anything can work for me.



  • #2
    Ronald, sorry for the delay. Cooling clothing and hats (using evaporation) are the only way to go in my opinion. Steams will be your ally, as will your hydration pack in a pinch. Vests are going to be too heavy and not last long enough. Wraps will just get in your way. Here's a company I hope to be testing in the coming weeks.

    Keep me posted what you direction you take!
    Dave Bexfield


    • #3
      Thanks Dave for the info. The Dr Cool apparel look interesting. Would you use a hat then?


      • #4
        Will be trying the skull cap. Not sure which would work best...
        Dave Bexfield


        • #5
          Thanks for the link Dave, I am thinking I will get a shirt sleeved shirt and see if it makes any difference on the bike. Same issue, day starts out cool and then HOT.


          • #6
            A year later

            I am looking for cooling products again!

            Just an update on cooling during the ultra-marathon last September: I washed my face a couple of times in streams and dunked my cap being careful not to get the water dribbling down into my shoes, to avoid blisters.

            Surprisingly, we pass near lakes and streams a few times, actually have to cross a few but the timing is not always the best. The hottest time was between 11am and 5pm and this period was the hardest: it was the hottest and only went close to water a couple of times.

            I'm thinking of upgrading this year, for ultra-running, for training and other outings. Cooling cap or cooling scarf? Any suggestions?

            In July, I'm doing the running leg of an "extreme" Ironman-distance triathlon. "Extreme" because the last 8 miles are up a mountain :-) I'll definitely need cooling then as it's in July and, although the swim starts at 4:30am, the 120 miles of cycling is very difficult and I don't expect to start running until afternoon, i.e. the hottest time of the day. The good part is that we have to be assisted by a crew (we meet with our crew car at different spots on the way) so they provide hydration, change of clothes, cooling or anything we plan. If I keep some cooling apparel in the car I can swap them a couple of times on the run.

            Cooling is key! Last sunday I ran a half marathon. Temperatures were only between 40 and 50 F (5-10 C) and I had to dump four cups of water on my head and neck on the way and still felt hot. The people in front of me became more and more blurry in the last third of the race. A half marathon is quite intense which explains the raise in body temperature. Longer the distance are usually easier! ;-)


            • #7
              Hi, I had to be at a work function outside in heat all day. I bought the cooling strips for children when their fever is high and stuck them on my lower back, neck, and abdomen. I replaced them when they got warm. I thought they helped. They are not noticeable and cheap. Good luck!


              • #8
                Thanks Suebee. It sounds interesting. How long do they stay cool?


                • #9
                  my simple explanation, it draws heat from
                  your skin. i had to google more in depth explanation .... the huffington post reviewed them and said they are a water based polymer pad with menthol. They come for babies, kids, and adults. baby ones dont get as cool because dangerous to cool baby so much. i'm not sure if adult and kid versions have different formulas. i couldnt find adult, so i used kids. They lasted several hours for me and i didnt feel them. i say they are cheap, so worth seeing if it helps you cool...


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the info. I'll look into them since they're cheap, at least some are. Some models are closer to 80$ a pop. I guess a different technology.


                    • #11
                      FYI, I had Beth (Miles and Trails) try out the new Thermapparel vest (<2 lbs) I recently reviewed. I wanted her to try running in it. She said it worked great and did not bounce like other vests. It's probably the only one I would recommend for running....
                      Dave Bexfield


                      • #12
                        Good to know. I'm considering a cooling vest for running. My neuro is worried that it will just mask the problem and I'll end up in trouble. I use cooling clothing-Columbia OMNI-cool long sleeve spf 50 shirt, same tech for the hat. I put ice in my hat if super hot. I got a buff recently that I'm going to try with ice. Keeping the sun off my skin helps.