Today is the first day of summer and what better time for tips on running in the heat.
I live in the Mississippi Valley region of Illinois. It not only can get very hot during the summer, but very humid as well. On top of that, some of us have to be very aware if it’s a green or orange air quality day.
I don’t mind the heat; I prefer it over the cold. But running in it poses a few challenges that need to be met if we’re going to stay healthy and safe.
- Stay hydrated!
Most of us don’t drink enough fluids overall, so drink even when you don’t feel thirsty. I used to not like drinking water but I trained myself to drink more by first adding a slice of lemon to it. Eventually I stopped using the lemon.
Drinking water throughout the day keeps our muscles hydrated. According to Brandi Barbre, Training Manager at Fleet Feet in St. Louis, “Well-hydrated muscle cells favor anabolic (build-up) processes, while in dehydrated muscle, catabolic (teardown) processes predominate. Rapid recovery after a workout relies upon anabolic processes to build and repair muscle tissue and to restore muscle glycogen – the internal carbohydrate fuel that is used during exercise.”
If you’re training session or run is going to be longer than 30 minutes, plan to drink at least 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes to replace the fluids we lose through sweating. And when we do sweat, we’re going to lose essential minerals and salts that our body needs. After about 30 minutes, start drinking some Gatorade or Nunn. These replace electrolytes in the body.
2. Wear the right kinds of clothing and accessories.
Wear loose, light colored clothing. Skip the cotton shirts and go for moisture-wicking apparel that keeps you cooler. Wear sunglasses and a hat or visor. Don’t forget a waterproof sunscreen.
3. Time your runs.
Try to do your runs early in the morning before the pavement starts to reflect the heat of the day. Evening runs are another option. And if you typically run through your neighborhood before anyone is up and around, then an evening run will give you another perspective of your neighborhood.
4. Learn to listen to your body.
Perhaps this is the most important tip of all as this applies not just to running in hot weather, but any time you run. If you feel ill even after you think you’ve taken in enough water, stop. Find some shade. Learn the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These are serious conditions that need to be treated right away.
It is possible to run in summer’s heat. So take these tips to heart and get out there and enjoy your run!