So we are out of the winter and spring, quickly heading into the Summer. I don’t know about you but the heat has been in full force lately. Surpassing our record highs here!
Running in the heat can be dangerous and VERY uncomfortable. Make sure you are ready and stay cool with these tips. Running in Florida has taught me a thing or two about running in the heat. It is a little tough but not as bad if you are prepared for it
1.- DRINK IT UP! Make sure you are drinking enough water to keep you well hydrated. Drinking water has more than just one purpose. Besides keeping you hydrated, it helps you feel better, run better, and activates your body’s cooling system. Try to drink at least a few ounces each hour. If you can do 8oz then great!!!
2.- LIGHT AND LOSE. Wearing loose clothing is definitely better. If you throw on some light-colored loose top and shorts, it will help reflect the sun off your skin(dark colors absorb the light of the sun) and allows for the breeze to hit your body, helping your body cool itself down.
3.-SUN UP,SUN DOWN. Running when the sun isn’t at its worst can impact you run. Try to run in the early hours of the morning before the sun rises being that it is the coolest time of the day. Sometimes running when the sun sets is also easier on the body. Avoid running between 10am and 4pm where the sun is the hottest.I honestly prefer running at night as the sun is setting, just make sure you are using something to alert others you are there, like a Glimmer Gear Arm Band
4.- HEADS UP! We release most of our body heat through our heads. Don’t covered it up with a heavy thick hat. Wear something breathable and light where heat is able to escape! Wearing a mesh or a visor is most effective.
5.- SHADE!!. If you have a trail nearby you can run under the shade helps keep you cool. Those high tall overlapping trees make a GREAT cover up and adventurous to run through.
6.- RUNNING WATER. Running near a lake or the beach pretty much guarantees a cool breeze here and there. Running near water usually have cooler temps. I run along a lake and I can notice the difference in temperature when running. When I stray away from the lake, it gets hotter and more humid so I totally recommend running by water. And besides, after your run you can take a quick dip to cool down. Depending where you run of course! My water is filled with snakes and alligators so I skip the dip.
7.- BE PATIENT. Your body has to get used to the extreme temperature changes. Give your body about 2 weeks to get used to it. Don’t go for any record runs or go out too fast. Keep it easy and quick at first. Heat exhaustion is serious and affects many runners each year because they don’t listen to their bodies.
8.- MEDS. Keep track of the side effects of your current medications. Especially antihistamines and allergy meds. Most of them are meant to dry you up and have a dehydrating side effect. So you will have to be more careful running in the heat. You will have to drink more water than most to stay hydrated. Try not to take your meds as you are heading out the door.
9.- MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE ‘MILL. If the temperatures are way too hot outside, then bring it indoors. Run on the treadmill. I know some of you aren’t too fond of the dreadmill, but if you REALLY want to run, you won’t mind it. I actually don’t mind running on the treadmill here and there. It’s easier on the feet and I don’t have to worry about snakes!
10.- USE THE SCREEN. Running in the sun is bad for your skin! Make sure to use sunscreen, at least 30SPF. There are many that are sweat proof and will last your whole run. I like the Neutrogena line. I recommend using it, even when there are clouds, you can still get sun with an overcast.
If you HAVE to run in the heat, here are some symptoms to look out for and how to quickly recover from some of them. The best way to avoid these illnesses is to follow my tips above. But if you don’t, here are some of the things that can happen so you know what to look for.
HEAT EXHAUSTION symptoms are: headaches, more sweat than usual, clammy hands and nausea.
quick treatment: Find a shady area, drink a sports drink(you need electrolytes) put ice packs on your neck and under your arm pits. Eat something with sodium to restore your electrolyte levels.
HEAT STROKE symptoms are: headaches, nausea, core body temp of 104+, fast pulse and disorientation.
quick treatment: none. Must go to the ER for extreme icing and IV fluids.
Another illness that not many may be familiar with is HYPONATREMIA. It’s when you drink too much water. It dilutes the sodium levels in your blood which is vital! You need sodium for your muscles to function properly and avoid muscle failure.
symptoms: headaches, muscle spasms, and disorientation.
quick treatment: none. Must be seen in the ER as soon as possible.
Yes, yes,I keep saying drink water, but it can be bad to drink too much! Besides feeling like there is a pool in your belly when you run, can hurt your performance. Try to keep your water intake under 32oz an hour. I usually drink about 6oz every mile or between, depending on how hot it is.
I hope you all stay safe when running out there in the hot Summer months!!! We have already hit high 90s here in Florida and it’s getting worse. I am prepared and ready to run in the heat. I drink extra electrolytes as running in extreme heat flares up my headaches so my ready to run routine changes a little than the one from Winter.
Luckily the trail I run on has a water fountain about a mile and a half apart. Sometimes I drink water in between but normally stop at the water fountains. I also take the chance to wet my face, head and neck. It gives me temporary heat relief! =)