Running in the summer goes along with the summer heat and humidity. It’s nearly impossible to avoid in Tennessee. Luckily, there are a few ways to be smart about summer training and get your workouts in without having too much trouble. Here are a few tips about how to stay safe in the summer heat.
It is important to be able to recognize heat illness. This is a condition where you feel sick due to heat exposure. Symptoms may include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, and weakness. You may end up cutting your run short as a result.
How to avoid it
Consider the time of day you plan to run. Avoid being outside in the sun and heat during peak hours, 10 AM – 4 PM. Early morning runs will be the coolest. Evening runs will be warm, but without the added heat of the sun.
Stay in the shade as much as possible on your run. Tree-lined streets and parks are good choices. Trails can be the coolest because of the tree cover, but might be more humid with less of a breeze.
Gradually increase your time in the heat and humidity over several weeks to acclimatize your body. You may encounter a heat wave during the summer where the weather is warmer than usual. Be careful not to push too hard during these days if this is a big change.
Stay well hydrated – drink plenty of fluids. Water will do just fine for runs and workouts less than 1 hour. Sports drinks can be used if the run will be longer than 1 hour. Drinking 4-6 oz. every 15-20 minutes is a good amount for most people to help during the summer heat.
You can calculate your sweat rate to see how much water you need to drink during and after a workout. Weight yourself before and after a 30-minute run (preferable naked, and dry off with a towel) without drinking any fluids to calculate the difference. One gallon of water weighs about 8.3 pounds. Multiply the difference by 2 and divide by 8.3 pounds per gallon. Then multiply by 128 to get the number of ounces. Make sure you drink this amount of fluid per hour during and within 2 hours after a run to replace the fluid lost.
If you begin feeling bad from the heat, what should you do?