Wednesday, June 21, 2017

10 Tips for Running in the Heat Without Dying

You might think that it's a little late in the year to be talking about running in the heat, but I live in Washington state and it's not summer here yet...not until July 5th.

It's weird but totally true.

Saturday it started out nice, but ended up being 59 degrees and raining.

Sigh...The price of being able to run outside year round can be high.

That being said, it does make Washingtonians sensitive to actual summer heat, which means that 80 degrees makes us feel like we're roasting alive...and don't even MENTION 90 degrees!

I run in it all, and make sure not to complain about it TOO much because of all the complaining I do about feeling like I'm freezing 9 months out of the year.

There are definitely some tips and tricks you can do to make running in the heat (whatever that means to you) a bit easier.

1. START and STAY hydrated.
     I can't stress this enough. If you're dehydrated you run the risk of getting kidney stones (done it-don't recommend it) as well as increases your likelihood of over heating and getting heat stroke. being properly hydrated also aids in providing your body with fluid for sweating which is how you cool yourself down. The power of evaporation...use it. Love it.

I completely fried my phone, but the water was worth it!

Pro tip: Fill your water bottle and inch or two with water and then freeze it. When you fill it up it will be nice and cold! If you use a backpack hydration system tip the bladder on it's side when you freeze the water so you don't block your hose intake valve with ice;)

2. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium and bicarbonate . They are our friends. They keep us alive and from feeling like we're going to pass out, or puke. They provide the juice that our muscles need to do their job and contract while we run. (But not TOO much! Because Charlie Horses hurt like the dickens). I like to use electrolyte capsules while I run. They work like a charm and also seem to help the absorption of fluid so I don't get "sloshy stomach".

3. Run in the morning, or in the evening. Basically any time that it NOT the hottest time of the day. Plus, if' you're running in the morning or evening you can utilize shade, which you won't get running at high noon.

4 Slow down. It takes energy to cool your body down. Energy you USED to be using just for running and keeping yourself warm. The warmer it is, the more energy is diverted from running. Studies have shown that for every 5 degrees over 60 degrees (the magic perfect running temperature we all crave and love) you can slow down as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile. You don't suck, it's Science.

5. Be Smart. Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion. They include, but are not limited to:
  • Dark-colored urine or cessation of urinating
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  •  Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Chills
  • Pale skin
Don’t try and run through these symptoms. Sit down in some shade, and if you're light headed lift your feet above your head. You don’t have an Olympic gold medal on the line here. We do this for fun, remember?

6. Get wet! Some might not be comfortable with this, but I totally run through peoples sprinklers if I see them. (Obviously I am respectful of their property when I do this.) It feels amazing! If I have a hat on, I get that wet as well. I'm not above sitting in an irrigation ditch if it gets hot enough...

7. Give yourself time. It takes approx. 2 weeks to acclimate to new surroundings. Altitude? 2 weeks. Cold? 2 weeks. Heat? 2 weeks. Even the Army won't give PT tests for two weeks if you're transferred to a hot area. And the Army doesn't care about your whining. So cut yourself some slack - just not TOO much;)

8. Dress for success! Tech fabric is your friend. It wicks your sweat away and helps keep you cool(er). It also helps you avoid chafing. Nobody wants chafing. Just say NO to cotton!

A little present from the Boston Marathon this year.
I've had chafing on around my belly button, on the backs of my arm pits and the WORST was
at the Owl Roost Rumble Trail Half Marathon in NC. I could barely walk afterwards.

9. Treat yourself! I find that having a cold treat waiting for me at the end of a hot run makes a world of difference in my moral. Watermelon is my "go to" treat, but frankly just having some ice cold water at the end can turn things around!

10. Run with a friend! Misery loves company? Every run is easier when you've got a running buddy next to you. How many times have you dreaded a run but gone anyway because you were meeting a friend and then it turned out just fine?

Don't forget to wear sunscreen!

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