It’s that time again! Your winter treadmill runs are being replaced with outdoor running, tank-tops and shorts are making their way out of drawers, and the temperature is finally consistently above 50 degrees. These signs that we are well into spring and summer is right around the corner also remind us of how taxing exercising in the heat is on our bodies. Heat negatively affects not only our bodies but also our performance. I’ll be addressing the major ways heat affects us and tips to help you easily segue into the warmer weather while still enjoying your runs and getting the most out of your workout.
Heat (above 69 degrees):
1. Increases body temperature
2. Increases heart rate
3. Speeds up the loss of fluid and salt via perspiration
4. Decreases blood flow to the muscles and organs
5. Adds time to your mile (slows you down)
Allow your body two weeks to become acclimated to running in the heat. Ease into it, while slowly increasing your mileage, water intake, and dietary sodium. To combat the negative affects of heat, here are several helpful tips:
1. Weigh yourself before and after your run: replace the fluid lost through perspiration
2. Steer clear of low-sodium diets. Dietary sodium will help the body retain additional water.
3. Run with a water bottle. Drinking 6-8oz. of water every 15 minutes during your run will keep you sufficiently hydrated.
4. Minimize the clothing you wear and make sure that you choose light colors, loose-fitted, breathable cotton clothes.
5. Know your body! If during your run you become chilled, experience muscle cramps, goose-bumps, feel dizzy, or your thirst has increased, your body is telling you it’s unable to properly function under the conditions. End your workout, there’s always tomorrow!
Remember you have been running in cool, comfortable conditions. Let your body slowly acclimate to the heat, and you should have a successful spring/summer running season!