Tips for running in the heat

 
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Summer is here and the heat is no joke!

Running when it’s hot outside can be unpleasant but also downright dangerous if you’re not careful. Here are some tips to help keep you safe and as comfortable as possible when the mercury rises. 

Dress accordingly. Light-colored, wicking (no cotton) loose fitting clothes are best. Wear a hat or visor, sunglasses and don’t forget sunscreen! 

Drink fluids containing electrolytes often. Replenishing sodium that leaves the body via sweat is key. Ideal hydration is a fine balance of taking in enough but not too much so that your tummy feels sloshy and you throw off the electrolyte balance, ultimately leading to a dangerous condition called hyponatremia.

Freeze your drinks. They thaw quickly but feel great in a fuel belt against your body in the process. If you have a long training run on tap, keep fuel bottles in a cooler in the car or stashed along your route. 

Run early or late. Avoid the heat of the day. Take advantage of cooling breezes.

Choose a shaded route. Shady trails are a great alternative on hot days. Asphalt has a nasty way of reflecting the heat back at you. 

Listen to your body. 

  • Muscle cramps and/or heavy sweating means you need to drink more and slow down.

  • Lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting indicate heat exhaustion. Rest and drink.

  • High body temperature, lack of sweating and altered consciousness indicate heat stroke. Rest in a cool place, apply ice and call emergency professionals.

Back off your planned pace. When you run, blood/oxygen flow to your muscles so there’s less available to flow to your skin for cooling purposes. That’s how you overheat.

Take refuge inside. When training, the treadmill is always an option.

If You’re Racing in Heat

Carry your own hydration. In extreme heat, there’s a risk that water stations will either run out of water, or cannot keep up with the high demand. This can set you up for disaster. By carrying your own, you eliminate some of this risk, and can refill when you see water.

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 Take advantage of course amenities: Cold sponges, ice and wet wristbands are wonderful if they are available. Wear wristbands of your own that you can soak in water. 

 Start planning your rematch race. After a very hot race, it’s likely you’ll vow NEVER run another one. But redemption is sweet, just saying. 

 If it’s any consolation, know that you’ll have ‘war stories’ to share about your hot race for generations to come!

By Marcia Kadens, Certified RRCA Running Coach and author of Marcia’s Healthy Slice

About ZOOMA. We believe it’s incredibly important to support each other’s goals, dreams and aspirations. The ZOOMA community is made up of all types of women who seek to achieve athletic and personal goals and support each other while doing so. ZOOMA race weekends are always filled with fun and incredible support and we’ll be there with you every step of the way - through your training, before race day and after race day.

 
Sarah Ratzlaff