Yippee, the summer is coming. And it’s already hot outside. Damn, the global warming!
A couple of days back I went for a run in the evening at around 5 and boy, I was fried. The warm wind with the harsh Gwalior sun toasted me nice and proper. My nostrils burned with the hot and polluted air and my throat was a dry pitch after 15 minutes of starting out. I squinted at the sun and continued to run my loops.
Summer is my favourite season because of the bright days which uplifts my moods. Unlike the rainy or winter season, I find recovery in summers better due to the heat. The mood is always upbeat with lots of sunlight outside. However, the heat can be brutal to the runners if we don’t take care.
Here are some tips to beat the heat.
1. Plan ahead
Planning ahead can save a lot of trouble especially if you want to run outdoors during a hot day. If you want to avoid the sun, then maybe it’s time to make friends with the treadmill. My personal opinion : I will still run out in the heat than run on this machine. I just hate it.
If possible, avoid running in the heat unless you are practicing for Badwater Ultramarathon. Plan to cater for adequate water and electrolytes and appropriate clothing. Also, check out the weather forecast and workout during the cool hours of the day like early morning or late evening.
Water is the lifeline, especially in summers. The body’s natural mechanism to cool down during hot weather is to sweat. That means after a prolonged period of time of sweating continuously, the body is going to dehydrate.
Therefore, it is imperative to drink sufficient water along with essential salts to maintain hydration. Remember to drink often by taking small sips.
1. Weigh yourself naked before you go on a run for 60 minutes at race pace.
2. Try not to drink water during the run or measure the quantity of water you drink.
3. After the run, discard the clothes, wipe yourself and weigh again.
4. Divide the sum of change in body weight from pre run to post run and amount of water consumed during the run with the time of run to get the sweat rate.
5. For eg. pre run body weight(A) = 75 kg and post run body weight(B) = 74 kg and water consumed(C) = 250ml. Then, change in weight (D=A-B)= 75-74=1kg=1000gms=1000ml. Water consumed in 60 minute run(E) = 250ml. Then the sweat rate(D+E/Duration of run) = 1000 + 250/60 = 20ml/minute. Or you need 1200ml or 40 oz an hour. Note that it maybe different on different days, depending on weather and physical conditions.
5. As you become a more experienced runner, the amount of drinking water may reduce as the body becomes efficient in cooling itself.
6. When your run exceeds an hour, consider taking sports drink as water then alone is not sufficient.
3. Cover yourself
Wear full sleeved clothes, caps and sunglasses to avoid overexposure to sun and prevent heat stroke. Carry lip balm and sun block, in case the workout exceeds an hour.
Choose the clothing which can absorb sweat and dry quickly. Time to hit a specialty running store to do some shopping. Wear fresh socks to avoid blisters and rotten smell. Also, for heavens sake, change the undies of the previous day. Dirty undergarments will give you a dirty rash or some fungal infection.
If your run program calls for a hard workout during a warm day, ditch it for the next day or a cooler time. Avoid intense workout during hot time because it can subsequently lead to low energy levels and many heat related injuries. Though working out at an easy intensity can be beneficial with respect to building up your endurance and stamina.
Recovery from a workout decides the intensity of the next day’s workout. Ensure you take adequate rest a day before and after the workout because of the heat. Take a recovery drink immediately after the run and plenty of water with essential salts and also throughout the day to avoid fatigue.
During extreme temperatures, the recovery process tends to be slower, depending on the fitness levels. As you become fitter, your resistance to heat will become stronger.
6. Listen to your body
Be careful and understand how your body responds to heat. Build up gradually to get used to the weather conditions. In case, you experience any headache or dizziness or elevated heart rate, stop immediately and look for a suitable shaded place and drink water in small sips.
Also, it is always helpful to get yourself acquainted with heat related risks and injuries and their first aid. You never know, someday, you may save a life or two or save yourself.
7. Cross train
If it’s hot outside, what’s better than to take a dip in the cool waters or take a spin class or sign up for a yoga or a go hiking in some cool places on holidays. Find alternatives if you find running a difficult task in the sun.
Cross training will help maintain your running muscles as well as give a break from running. You will, for sure, come back highly motivated and much more fitter.
After the dreary winters, enjoy the summers till it lasts. But be careful and follow the tips to beat the heat. Enjoy yourself and the sun.
Till then stay fit and keep running.
Do you like to run on a treadmill to beat the sun?
What’s your sweat rate? Mine is 800 ml per hour.
How hot is your place in summers? Mine is boiling here in Gwalior, India but only till the time the rains hits in July.