Running in Hot Weather
Running in the heat can be dangerous but there are ways to make sure you are being safe. No one wants to deal with heatstroke or heat exhaustion but they do happen. It is important to plan ahead as the temperatures rise so that you aren’t at an increased risk for either. Here are some recommendations to stay safe:
- Road Runners Club of America’s (RRCA) website says that you can lose between 6 and 12 oz. of fluid for every 20 minutes of running. Which means hydrating correctly is very important.
- Make sure you drink water before, during, and after your run. RRCA recommends:
- 10-15 oz. of fluids 10-15 minutes before you run
- Drink fluids every 20-30 minutes during your run
- Rehydrate after your run:
- You can determine if you are hydrating properly by weighing yourself before and after your run. Drink one pint of fluids for every pound of weight lost during your run.
- Dark yellow urine can indicate that you are not hydrating well enough.
- Keep in mind that thirst alone is not a great indicator of your hydration status.
- You can use electrolyte recovery drinks and/or water to help you stay hydrated.
- While wearing sunscreen can be easy to forget and a tedious task, it is important to protect your skin to avoid developing skin cancer in the future.
- Applying sunscreen 10-20 minutes before your run will allow it to absorb into the skin for maximum effect
- Avoid running in the peak heat of the day.
- RRCA recommends avoiding running if it is 98.6 degrees or above and if the humidity is 70% or higher.
- Check the temperature and humidity levels before going for a run. If it is too hot and humid your body will have a much harder time regulating your body temperature which could be dangerous.
- Run inside at a gym with an indoor track or treadmills instead of outside.
- Try running in the mornings or evenings when it is cooler.
- Plan to bring water bottles with you.
- Plan to run a route that has water fountains or access to drinking water along the way, so you can refill your water bottles.
- Try to plan routes with plenty of shade so that you aren’t spending the majority of the run in the sun.
- Wear light colored, breathable clothing.
- Avoid long sleeves and pants.
- Wear protective eyewear and sunscreen.
- If you have heart or respiratory conditions, or are taking medication consult with your doctor about how to stay safe while running in high temperatures.
- Tell someone when, where, and how long you are running for so that if something happens to you, they will be able to contact authorities.
Dehydration and exposure can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Below are the signs and symptoms of each condition.
Heatstroke is when your body fails to regulate its temperature, and your body temperature continues to rise. Heat stroke can damage the brain and other vital organs. Signs and symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Mental changes
- Red, hot, and dry skin
- Throbbing headache
- Lack of sweating
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Rapid heartbeat (can be strong or weak)
Heat exhaustion while not as severe as heat stroke is still dangerous and can lead to heat stroke. There are two kinds of heat exhaustion:
- Water depletion, signs include:
- Excessive thirst
- Loss of consciousness
- Salt depletion, signs include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramps
Remember that it is better to be safe than sorry, and planning ahead does not take much time or effort. If you or someone running with you become dizzy, nauseous, stop sweating, or have chills, stop running, find a cool and shady place to sit, and drink fluids (preferable with electrolytes). Call or ask for help if you or they are not feeling better.
Tunnel Marathons Personal Trainer