Thursday, July 8, 2010

Beat the Heat

I've been asked as part of a running column for the newspaper to put together a list of tips for running in the heat. Actually, kind of ironic since my main column will be an adaptation of my last post declaring that I'm not running in this stuff.

For what it's worth, here's the sidebar that will run: 10 Ways to Beat the Heat - and Run Smart. Thanks to the Dailymile friends who added their tips.

1. Drink, drink. And drink some more. Carry water on your run, even at shorter distances when you normally wouldn’t bring any. Sip often – about 4 oz. every 15 minutes - rather than guzzling large amounts less frequently. Importantly, don’t wait until you feel thirsty because thirst is not an indicator of dehydration. Once you are thirsty, you are already low on fluids. Good hydration isn’t just about what happens during your run, so drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your run, too.

2. Run Early. Set your alarm and get up before the sun gets high in the sky – or before it gets up at all. Not only will you avoid the hottest part of the day, you’ll enjoy the quietness of the roads, the chirping of the birds and getting a run in before most of the world is moving.

3. Run Slower and Shorter. The hottest days are not the ones to test your ability. It’s okay to make adjustments by slowing down the pace and considering a shorter route.

4. Move It. Try to seek out shady route or try a trail run with tree cover. Hot days might even mean running indoors on a treadmill at an air-conditioned gym and can be the perfect time to try something new, like aqua-jogging.

5. Dress for Success. Choose light-colored and lightweight clothing. Stick to materials that will wick moisture away from your body, not cotton.

6. Cover Up. Shade your face with a visor or hat. A visor will allow for your body to cool itself through your head. If you choose to wear a hat, consider plunging it in water for extra cooling. Don’t forget the sunglasses and sunscreen, especially if your runs will put you in the sun for longer periods of time.

7. Lubricate. Not all running tips are glamorous. Apply Body Glide or another anti-chafing product liberally and everywhere that skin meets skin. Moisture in the form of sweat is just like running in the rain. If you do not prepare for it properly, you’ll pay the painful price in the form of chafing and blisters.

8. Replace the salt. Feel that grit on your skin? That’s salt. Your body will naturally lose salt and other minerals while you run, so be sure to replace it during your run by adding in sports drinks with electrolytes, any of the electrolyte-enhanced running fuel. Try salty foods like pretzels as a post-run snack.

9. Listen to your body. Simply put, take a break when you feel like you need one. What are bodies tell us is more important that what’s on the training schedule.

10. Take heat seriously. Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and stroke. If you feel unusually fatigued or are experiencing any danger signs, like cramping, dizziness or nausea, stop exercising immediately and get to a cool spot. Extreme or prolonged symptoms could mean a trip to the emergency room.

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