Beat the Summer Heat and Run Like a Boss: Benefits of Running in the Heat
The summer heat is one of the most common problems faced by runners. There are many reasons why it happens, but there are some general ones that can be attributed to it.
These include dehydration, overheating, lack of water intake, and other factors. Most runners don’t think about these things when they’re doing their training or racing. However, if you do have any of them, then your body will react accordingly. So if you want to avoid getting burned up by the summer heat, then make sure you take care of these issues before the sun goes down!
Running in the heat causes dehydration because your body doesn’t get enough fluids during exercise. If you start sweating profusely while exercising at high intensity, your body won’t be able to cool itself off properly.
You’ll become dehydrated very quickly.
If you’re not careful, you could also develop heat stroke. This occurs when your body’s core temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius).
Your brain stops functioning properly due to the extreme heat, and death may occur within minutes. Even though it sounds scary, it isn’t really dangerous if you keep yourself hydrated and rest until help arrives.
How to Prevent and Treat Dehydration
The best way to deal with dehydration is to prevent it. Once you’re dehydrated, the damage is already done and it can be fatal in some cases.
Here are a few ways to prevent excessive dehydration:
Drink as much fluid as you can before, during, and after your training session or race. Even water will do in a pinch (though sports drinks are better, especially if you’re running long distances).
Try to run in the early morning or at night. The sun is at its peak from noon to about 3:00 PM so try to avoid that time frame if you can.
If you have to run then, take frequent breaks in the shade and have electrolyte-rich drinks on hand. It’s also a good idea to use sunscreen on your skin if you’re going to be out during the afternoon.
Wear lightweight clothing that breathes. Try to avoid things like cotton since they like to soak up your sweat.
Take a break every once in a while so that your body can cool itself down. Go slowly so that you don’t overheat, and take breaks every 5 to 10 minutes.
How to Recover from Dehydration
If you become severely dehydrated during an ultra-marathon then you need medical attention right away. The same goes with suffering from heatstroke.
Even if you don’t, your body still needs to be rehydrated. Do this slowly by drinking a few cups of water and sports drink. Avoid things like soda since they’re very acidic and will cause more dehydration.
Try immersing yourself in a cool bath and soak for at least 20 minutes. You can also use a damp washcloth to cool down your head and body temperature.
If you’re out in the sun a lot, wear a hat to protect your head from direct exposure (and to keep it cool). Wear lightweight clothing and sunglasses to shield your eyes and face.
Cool down your fuel
Your body generates a lot of heat when running so it’s important to stay hydrated before, during, and after long or intense training sessions. Drink something like Gatorade or Powerade before you go out so that you’re sure to go take care of business when you come back.
If you use water to hydrate, try adding some sort of juice to it so that you’re getting some extra Vitamin C and antioxidants. This will help your immune system and keep colds and the flu at bay during your training sessions.
Cooling down properly is just as important as warming up. After every session in the sun, be sure to take a cool shower or bath.
This will help bring your body temperature down and prevent you from getting sick.
If you’re prone to burn easy, try putting on some sun block before you go out in the sun. Most running stores will have a good selection of sun screens made just for athletes.
Planning your training schedule
It’s important to allow your body to acclimate to the heat. If you live in a colder area, don’t just jump in to a summer marathon schedule since you’ll only cause yourself harm.
Instead, do some research and find out what the average daily high temperatures are for the month(s) of your race. Once you have that information, create a schedule based on that data.
If you’re going to be training in an area with extreme temperatures, then be sure to take it easy the first few days. The changes in pressure can cause your body to go through a lot of changes, and it may take a little while for your body to adapt to the conditions.
It’s better to take things slowly at the start so that you don’t burn yourself out before the big day.
If you’re training for a fall or spring marathon and the weather is cold, don’t stop your training just because it gets too cold outside. You can bundle up and train in the same way that you would if you were running indoors on a treadmill.
If anything, bundling up will help you get used to running in those types of conditions since race day will more than likely be somewhat chilly as well.
You can also find an indoor track near you to train on. If snow or ice keeps you from running outside, then these tracks are a perfect place to keep your training up throughout the winter months.
Regardless of when you’re training, it’s important to keep a balanced training schedule. You can’t just do long distance running and expect to be in the best shape come race day.
Be sure to incorporate speed and strength training into your routine as well.
Incorporating strength training into your routine is a good way to ward off fatigue. It will also increase your endurance so that you can keep running further with the same amount of effort.
A well-rounded fitness program will also help decrease your chances of getting injured, which is something every runner fears when they’re getting ready for a race.
Should you stretch?
One hot debate in the running community is whether or not you should be doing static stretches before a run. This is something that you’ll have to choose for yourself, but here’s some information on both sides of the issue.
Static stretching (holding a pose to lengthen your muscles) before a run is supposed to increase flexibility and reduce your risk of injury. Recent studies have shown that it doesn’t really prevent you from getting injured and that it reduces your strength.
A good alternative to this type of stretching is known as dynamic stretching. This is a type of stretching in which you move parts of your body (such as your arms and legs) through a series of movements designed to warm up those muscles without putting undue stress or strain on them.
Sources & references used in this article:
Turn the beat around: The secret history of disco by J Muir – 1911 – Houghton Mifflin
The end of the long hot summer: The air conditioner and southern culture by M Royko – 1988 – Penguin
Blockbuster: How Hollywood learned to stop worrying and love the summer by P Shapiro – 2015 – books.google.com
The boys from New Jersey: How the mob beat the feds by L Michelutti, A Hoque, N Martin, D Picherit, P Rollier… – 2018 – Stanford University Press
Fortune’s Formula: The untold story of the scientific betting system that beat the casinos and wall street by R Arsenault – The Journal of Southern History, 1984 – JSTOR
The sacrificial stud and the fugitive female in Suddenly Last Summer, Orpheus Descending, and Sweet Bird of Youth by T Shone – 2004 – books.google.com