Summer Running Season is finally here.
We endure freezing cold winters and soggy springs to get to this beautiful weather. Ideal running conditions are temps in the 50’s, low humidity and maybe overcast skis and a light breeze. Sometimes we get perfection, but usually we do not.
Running takes up a lot of our spare time, often that spare time is not the best time for running. It is best to run in the morning or the evening and avoid the heat, strong sun and high UV index. Air quality is often better with fewer cars on the road also.
So what to do when the only time you have to run is in the middle of the day in blistering heat? It takes time for our bodies to acclimate. Give your self some time to build up your distance running in high temps. If you usually run 10K for a training run, cut back to a 5K on the first hot runs.There is more to training than just racking up the miles. If your body has time to adjust to the heat, you will perform better at races and during training runs.
Hydration is key
If you don’t normally carry a bottle, you may want to start. The best idea is to have a re-usable bottle that you can toss in the freezer for a bit to chill your water. I think cold water tastes better, and cold water will stay cool longer out in the heat. You may even want to use a sports drink even for your 5K run. You will be sweating more than usual so the electrolytes in these drinks could make your run more comfortable.
If you run in an urban area, you may want to map out water sources. You may find public drinking fountains in a park or along a walking path. Some stores will have fountains just inside the door. Tucking a $5 in your pocket is another idea, as you can pop into a store and buy an ice-cold bottle of water should you need it.
Light colors are best when running in the heat and sun. They do not absorb as much heat from the sun and they make you feel cooler also. A hat or visor will help protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays, reduce glare and shade your face. Now is the time to wear your singlets and tech running shirts.
Select your Route Carefully
During the 2012 Boston Marathon, I made a great effort to run on the shaded side of the road. I wasted energy crossing the road to get into the shade, but I feel it made a difference. A shaded area can be 10 degrees cooler than a sunny area. If you can run on trails or in a park with a lot of coverage, it may be your best choice.
If you can run along a river, stream or a lake or ocean shore that could be ideal. You may be more exposed to the sun, but you will have the cooling effect of the water and possibly a breeze off of the water.
Warning signs of Heat Stroke
If you are out running in the heat and feel confused, (more than normal), are not sweating, have a rapid and weak pulse or have cramps or seizures, you could have heat stroke. Early signs of heat stroke are profuse sweating, fatigue, thirst and cramps. Many of us experience these symptoms all the time. If you are running on a hot day be sure to pay closer attention to these symptoms.
If you notice that you are no longer sweating, feel confused or don’t know where you are, seek help immediately. You need to get to a cool place, lie down if possible and drink something. If possible raise your feet about 12 inches.
The NIH has additional information that you may want to take a quick look at. It could save your life, or someone you know.
Run well my friends,
© anagelin 2014