No doubt this month is officially summertime. Just feel the heat! And there’s no stopping the runners to stay indoors. In fact, we have a lot of races prepared for the summer or races where we prepare during summer. Unfortunately, running in heat and humidity has some risks involved and runners need to take extra precautions to avoid dehydration, heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
In this article, I’ll share with you some essential tips to make your summer run enjoyable and healthy. Run safe and have a great summer.
- Dress light and loose.Wear lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored clothing. Choose sports-specific synthetics over cotton. The former doesn’t absorb moisture and allows air circulation. Also, tight clothing can be uncomfortable when damp with sweat and dark colors absorb the sun’s light and heat.
Exhibit A. These hotbods shows you how to dress ultra light for an ultramarathon.
Notice how Jet protects his skin by hiding behind Doc Art. 😀
- Drink lots of water. May it be before, during or after your run, drink water whenever possible. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Water is the most important element in the prevention of heat injury. If you’re outside, it’s better to drink more fluids. Use a water belt when you run to make sure that you have access to fluids if you’re exercising longer than 30 minutes. For long period of workouts, it’s better if you hydrate yourself with sports drinks. By keeping yourself hydrated, you’ll improve your body’s cooling mechanisms.
- Run early morning or late evening. During hot weather, schedule your runs to beat the heat. It’s cooler in the morning so try to get up early enough before the temperature gets hot. Avoid running when the intensity of the sun is at its greatest. Look for shady roads or trails. If you’re a nocturnal person, have a late evening run. It’s also nice to meet with a group for your night run. However, an occasional morning run helps especially in getting the vitamin D you need from sunlight.
- Protect your eyes and skin.Use sunglasses, preferably with UV protection, or sun visor against sun exposure. These can also prevent headaches from squinting too much. To avoid skin cancer or other skin damage, wear sunscreen with SPF of at least 15, even on partly cloudy days. The cloud only covers the direct sunlight but not the harmful ultraviolet rays.
Exhibit B. Protect you eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses. And ah… er… hmm…
brushing your teeth adds some cool minty feeling, I guess. Photo by Brando Losaria.
- Acclimate gradually. When running during hot weather, do not increase your speed instantly. You have to acclimate to the heat gradually and safely. Keep your midday run up to 30 minutes at most and go longer on cool mornings or evenings.
- Listen to your body. Extreme heat can be dangerous. Be sure you’re familiar with the signs of heat problems. Signs of heat stroke are hot, dry skin and decreased sweating while signs of heat exhaustion are weakness, faintness and disorientation. Once you experience these symptoms, stop all activity and find a shade for cooling your body. Rest and drink water or seek medical treatment if necessary.
- Get wet.Use water to aid yourself in cooling your body during your runs. It’s refreshing to pour cold water over your head especially when running in long distances, but it’s not enough to keep your body temperature down. In order to do that, you still need to drink the water.
Exhibit C. Chris getting an instant shower during the BDM 102KM last March 7, 2010.
Photo by Brando Losaria
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