10 Tips for Running in Hot Weather
Summer running obviously increases the core body temperature. On an average a runner will expend 500-1500 kcal/hr depending on the experience and fitness of the runner. Running in hot weather can have adverse affects to the body if not treated properly and with precaution. Heat raises the temperature of the body and can cause dehydration, dizziness, disorientation, heat cramps or heat stroke.
The good news is that you don't have to give up running this summer. However, you have to keep in mind that running in hot weather can be dangerous for you, unless you are properly prepared for it and follow certain precautions that will help you stay out of harm's way. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. 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.
2. Shower before you run: Take a cold shower or wet your hair before you run. Lowering your skin temperature before you go out can help you stand the heat a little longer. You can also pour cold water over your head while you're running.
3. Wear Sunscreen: The sun drains energy out of you especially if it is given the chance to burn you. 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.
4. Wear Shades: Good pair of running sunglasses help protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays. Also, wearing running sunglasses helps prevent headaches that come from squinting.
5. Get Adapted: Give your body a week or two to adapt to the heat. If hot weather starts suddenly, do shorter runs until your body adapts to the heat.
6. Run in the morning: Generally, it's cooler and less humid in the morning. And, summer air quality levels are worse late in the afternoon.
7. Drink fluids while you are running in the heat: Sweating in the heat accelerates the loss of electrolytes that need to be replenished regularly throughout your run for safety and endurance reasons. If your running time is extended beyond 30 minutes, be sure to include a drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes.
8. Avoid substances that dehydrate the body: Be sure to restrict caffeine and alcohol. Some medications, such as antihistamines, are also dehydration risks (for longer races in particular).
9. Don't Push It: Heat and humidity can be dangerous. Be aware of the signs of overheating. 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. If you feel dizzy or if your skin feels clammy, stop and get out of the sun.
10. Stay out of cold air-conditioned rooms: If at all possible, the day before and on the morning of the race, stay out of cold rooms. The shock to the body from that really cold room to the really hot race will be less.
Just as the heat slows you down and challenges your will, rest assured that your summer time running will lead to faster times and easier runs in the fall when it is cooler.