I don't know about you, but my runs this past week have been exceptionally hard. The increase in heat and humidity caused my ego to take a furious blow as I unsuccessfully tried to maintain my usual pace. But seriously ladies, it's not worth fighting the heat; you're only going to be a victim of heat exhaustion or some other heat illness if you don't deliberately slow down and reduce the intensity of your runs (and even the distance if necessary).
Here's a list of great tips to follow, as you continue to train throughout the summer:
Tips for Running in Hot Weather
How to Run Safety in the Heat and Humidity
By Christine Luff, About.com Guide Updated May 03, 2012
- Stay hydrated - The easiest way to avoid heat disorders is to keep your body hydrated. This means drinking fluids before, during and after exercise. The body's fluid needs vary with exertion, climate, humidity, terrain, and other factors. The new fluid recommendations for runners say that they should "obey your thirst" and drink when their mouth is dry and they feel the need to drink. In training, drink before workouts and make sure you have access to fluids if exercising longer than 30 minutes. During longer workouts, some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink(like Gatorade) to replace lost salt and other minerals (electrolytes).
- Choose clothing carefully - Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself down naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process and dark colors absorb the sun's light and heat. Wear synthetic fabrics (not cotton) because they will wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur.
- Run Early or Late - Try to avoid running between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's intensity is at its greatest. If you must train during those hours, try to stick to shady roads or trails. Morning (before sunrise or right after) is the coolest time of the day to run since the roads have not heated up during the day.
- Wear Sunscreen - Protect your skin with a waterproof sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and offers broad spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Stick formulations are good for runners' faces because the sunscreen won't run into your eyes.
- Don't Push It - On a race day (or during any intense workout), take weather conditions into account. Brutal heat and humidity mean you should scale back your performance goals. Don't try to beat the heat. Hot and humid conditions are not the time to try to push your pace. Slow down, take walking breaks, and save your hard efforts for cooler weather.
- Make a Splash - Use water to cool yourself during runs. If you are overheating, splashing water on your head and body will cool you down quickly and have a lasting effect as the water evaporates from your skin.
- Be Educated - You should be very familiar with the signs of heat problems so you recognize them in yourself or in a running partner. If you feel faint, dizzy, disoriented, have stopped sweating, or your skin is cool and clammy, slow down or stop running, and get some fluids. If symptoms continue, sit or lie down in the shade and seek help.