Fighting the Heat
Summer is nearly here and the temperatures are rising. Events in extreme heat, like last years Boston Marathon, have brought to light the dangers of running in the heat. Although, at certain temperatures, avoiding outdoor activities would be best, there are ways to help your body to better handle the warmer weather.
Your core body temperature needs to stay below 104 degrees in order to prevent heat stroke. To maintain a low body temperature, you must acclimate your body to warmer weather conditions. As the weather gets warmer, try to run at a slower pace earlier in the morning and work your way up to a race pace during the hotter part of the day.
Hydrating properly plays a large role in preventing heat related issues. Sweating is your body’s natural cooling system. The more you sweat, the faster you lose fluids. With temperatures hitting 100 degrees in some parts of the country, you may have to intake about 1 liter of water per hour of running in order to equal the amount of sweat loss. Gradually increase you fluid intake just as you are gradually increasing your running pace in the heat. If you are planning on running a race this summer and the temperature is expected to be high, plan on eating a salty meal before the race. The extra sodium will increase your thirst as well as help to retain fluid in the body.
Be aware that excessive fluid intake could be dangerous as well. Hyponatremia is a low amount of sodium and an excessive amount of water in the cells. Symptoms of hyponatremia are confusion, nausea, or fatigue. Check with your doctor and decrease your fluid intake if any of these symptoms occur.
The most important thing is to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you feel weak or faint, make sure to stop running and find some shade. Stay hydrated and enjoy the summer weather!