As most of you east coast dwelling runners know, the heat, humidity, and almost constant thunder and lightning storms have plagued us for well over a month now. Though these conditions are not prime for getting a great training in, we still need to get out there and get our #’s in before the goal races we have set for ourselves occurs.
Here are some good strategies to help you be smart about protecting yourself in the heat;
– Hydrate! Water is the most essential component in the human body. Waters role in the body is to cushion and protect vital organs, aid in digestion, and most importantly while we are out running in the heat – regulated body temperature.
drink 17-20 oz of fluid 2 hrs before starting
drink 7-10 oz of fluid every 10-20 minutes during exercise
drink 16-24 oz of fluid when you finish, for every lb of body weight you lost during your exercise
*remember: rehydration occurs faster in the presence of Sodium, regardless if it is a sports drink!
–Location Pick a shaded trail, be smart, a hot black-top road with no shade what-so-ever is going to be a huge FAIL on a hot and humid day.
–Time of day Even though humidity is higher in the morning the temperature is usually lower, make sure you pick a nice shaded course and hit the streets early, before work, to beat the hot temperatures after work. I see those girls out in their bra tops and tiny shorts at 5:30pm in the 88 degree weather and I wonder, are they training for the Badwater UltraMarathon in Death Valley? Doubt it! WHAT ARE THEY THINKING??? (I digress…)
–Intensity The intensity at which you complete your run should be lower than on a cool or not humid day. So, take it down a notch or two. You are not going to win or lose an event if you worked out with less intensity for a few work outs.
–Temperature Know that various temperatures vs. Humidity will affect your body during hot days. Know that 10% humidity is generally safe up to 90 degrees but 50% humidity is a risk factor when you’re reaching the higher temps. Be smart about your age and physical fitness level when the humidity is high.
–Fitness Acclimatization, you can acclimatize your body within 14 days by slowly increasing your time exercising in the heat, starting with 15 minute segments a day. This will allow you to feel more comfortable and allow your body to function at a safer level when in the heat.
–Clothing Wear sweat wicking, light clothing during hot runs. There are so many different clothing companies now a days that offer the highest tech fabric for any temperature. There is no excuse to have the wrong clothing on a hot day.
–REST It is important to know when you need to rest or take your workout inside. When the humidity is high, don’t risk setting yourself back because you decided to hit the trail when the temperature was 85 degrees and the humidity was at 65% and you haven’t worked on your acclimatization.
It must be noted: Don’t go out for a run AND run straight home when you hear thunder and see lightning!