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Tuesday, June 23

Mr. Heatmiser (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy)

Wellness Wednesday : Survive Your Hot-Weather Run

Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned runner, the heat of summer can be very dangerous.  It's not just the heat that you need to be aware of, but also the humidity.  Plan ahead, and always have an emergency plan in place.  

Know the signs of heat-related illness, and heed them!  I used to run quite a bit in the heat of summer until one day, while marathon training, when I tried to do a 20+ mile run on a 100+ degree day.  After a bout of heat exhaustion, my thermostat seems to be permanently disabled....and now running in the heat is pretty much impossible.  Let my mistake be a warning to you - you are not immune to the heat!!!!


1. Plan ahead.

Do your runs in the early morning or evening, not at peak sun hours. Take advantage of the extra daylight.  Make sure to look out for heat advisories and warnings. Rearrange your training schedule if the day is unusually hot or humid. Check the weather early in the week and adjust your runs accordingly.

2. Invest in climate-controlled clothing.

Wear light clothing and sports shirts that repel moisture.  Compression socks actually help cool the body since they keep the blood flowing well...but wear the white ones.  Running caps help to cool the body while providing sun protection.

3. Monitor your water intake.

Drink at least 8 oz. of water every one to two hours on your run. Wear a hydration pack or fuel belt that allows you to carry water. Plan your routes around water fountains or stores where you can refill your water mid-run.  Hydrate BEFORE heading out.  Monitor your pee, too....light pee = good, dark pee = not good.  Another trick is to weigh yourself before you go run, and then weigh yourself when you get back.  Every half pound lost should equate to one glass of water.  Drink up!

Make sure you're replacing your electrolytes, too.

4. Take your run inside.

Seriously - would you complain about running on a treadmill during a blizzard?  It may be beautiful outside, but it's just as dangerous to your core temperature.  It's a short-term fix that will bridge your workouts during extreme weather days.

5. Acclimate yourself.

As the hot weather approaches, take caution with your runs. Work yourself up to long runs as you get used to the heat.  Don't switch to tank tops as soon as it hits 70 degrees....wait a bit, because you're going to need those tank tops on the 100+ days.

6. Map out a new route or a new time.

Get up and get your long run done before (or as) the sun comes up.  This give you plenty of time to get in the miles at the coolest part of the day.  Change up your route so that you are in wooded areas or places with more shade.

7. Block the sun.

Make sure to liberally apply sunscreen and wear a hat or visor. This will block the sun from hitting your face directly.  You might also wear UV protection clothing.  I recommend a visor, since this will still allow the heat to escape from your head.

Take it to the Next Level

Electrolytes are lost both in sweat and in urine. Some athletes lose a lot while others don't, and there's wide range of the amount lost. As you can see in the table below, sodium and chloride are lost in larger amounts than potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well. The values listed represent the amount of electrolytes contained in a liter of sweat. Keep in mind that individual athletes lose varying amounts of sweat, so use the table below as a ballpark reference.
Mineral
 Concentration in Sweat (mg/L of sweat)
Sodium
 460-1840
Chloride
 710-2840
Potassium
 160-390
Magnesium
 0-36
Calcium
 0-120

Table adapted from Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals, 5th Edition.
Good electrolyte replenishments include :  

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