by Davy Kestens in Training Tips

How to Beat the Heat While Running

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Runners will tell you excitedly that there are not many things that can compare to the invitation of a bright sunny day and the tapping sound of your running shoes. However, these sunny days usually go along with some degree of heat. If you do not approach this invitation with care, you can end up with a very unpleasant struggle.

Heat stroke or heat exhaustion is the main threat of running in warm summer weather. Every runner who is serious about running will assure you that heat is one factor to take seriously. Apart from being just very uncomfortable, extreme heat conditions can be very harmful and even fatal. How to beat the heat while running is what you need to know.

Getting familiar with the signs of heat-strokes

The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.

It is of utmost importance that runners should be familiar with the signs of heat-strokes, as well as proficient in the ways to deal with exhaustion and heat strokes. If you feel any of the symptoms associated with heat stroke – you must stop immediately, re-hydrate with plenty of fluids and cool off properly without hesitation. You can also take some important precautions to lessen your risk while running in warm summer weather.

Regardless of your fitness level or your strength as a runner, summer heat is not something to be underrated. When you disregard proper measures while running in the heat and force yourself further than your capabilities, you can be sure to have trouble with the proper functioning of your body’s ordinary cooling methods and you will suffer from too-low levels of blood pressure and even have to deal with heat exhaustion.

Here are some practical ways on how to beat the heat while running

Best Times And Places to Run in Summer

It is very foolish to pick the hottest time of the day to run, and places unnecessary strain on your body. The best times to run during summer are to go running as early as possible in the morning or late in the evening.

Altering your running route in summer to a route that are more shady is a good idea and try to stay out of direct sun as much as possible. Areas that have water features such fountains are a great advantage.

Acclimatize

Once hot weather starts, make effort to acclimatize first. The recommended period to help your body to adapt to the changing temperatures is at least two weeks.
In sudden hot weather conditions, decrease your normal running distance to a comfortable distance. Should it happen that your running program requires you to run 25 miles or more, make effort to alter your program to adapt to the environmental factors.

Hydration

Hydration is one of the most important aspects of running, regardless of what season of the year it is. Hydration gains importance especially if you are running in a warm weather.
It is important to note that hydration is not only applicable to the actual running part but you also need to incorporate the habit of drinking water while you workout and practice.

Making sure that you do not dehydrate while running is not a skill that comes instinctively. It is a skill that one needs to learn and practice to do it the right way.

Taking in some fluids while running is certainly not easy! Have you ever tried to drink from a cup while walking? You need to get a proper grip on the cup to prevent spilling most of the content and if you drink to fast, you start wheezing and coughing; or if you waste time at the water stations to drink properly, you waste your valuable running time.
The best way to make sure you will be able to consume enough fluids during running in hot weather is to practice drinking water while you are training.

What happens when you do not drink enough fluids while running in hot weather?

While you run, your body uses more energy than normal and therefore creating more heat than your body can cool down naturally through perspiration. While running, your body’s temperature escalates above by up to four degrees. In ideal conditions, your body’s cooling system is synchronized with the conditions and you have no problem with running comfortably.

In the event where the climate is high in humidity and it is warmer than normal, your body becomes dehydrated. This ultimately means that your body is not able to produce enough perspiration to regulate your body temperature and your temperature starts to rise.

In these instances your body’s temperature can climb to hazardous readings. When your body temperature reaches high levels, your muscles start to weaken and forces you to slow down. This is a normal protection procedure of the body to prevent heatstroke.

Tips on How to beat the heat while running

1. Before You Run

Drink enough water up to two hours before you start running. Your body will pass all fluids that you consume in excess, in the time before you run, through urine. Make sure to remember stop hydrating at least one-and-half hours before you start running though.

2. While You Run

It is recommended to start consuming fluids again in small quantities moments before you start to run. The moment you start running, you will transform the excess liquid into perspiration before it can get to our kidneys to produce urine.

You need to consume fluids while running even if you are only practising, in particular when the weather is warmer than what you are used to. The advantage of keeping hydrated during the run is that it will help boosting your performance and your recovery after the run will be much sooner. It is strongly advised to run with a water bottle when dealing with high temperatures.

3. Walk and Drink

When approaching a water station, take the time to walk while you drink instead of trying to drink hurriedly. You will be able to consume fluids more effectively than you would if you keep on running. You might think that you will lose more time, but in fact, because you are hydrated properly, you will  be able to perform  better and make up for the “lost” time without noticing.

4. After You Ran

As soon as you stop running, consume some fluids immediately. It is important to note that once you have quenched you thirst it is not enough and you still need to consume some more fluids.
If you are not sure, you can check on the colour of your urine. The clearer the colour of the urine is, the better the level of hydration of your body.

5. Do not overrate your capabilities

It is only good common sense that you will not be able to run as fast and as far as usual in warmer weather conditions. Be reasonable to yourself and do not anticipate a personal best time when running in hot summer weather. Once you start feeling exhausted either slow down or call-off the run when you realize that you are dehydrating too much or start to overheat.

These basic tips on running in warm weather and keeping self well hydrated are important for all kind of runners – beginners, seasonal runners, and also professionals. Expertise to beating the heat comes from basic understanding of maintaining optimum balance between the running and drinking fluids; which can be best learnt during the training period.

I wish you successful running and hope you come back to this site for more informative articles.
If you have any questions, please leave your comment below. We’ll answer all of your questions.




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