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Running in the Heat

I can’t stand the heat, and running in the heat has always been my worst nightmare! The red face, sweat dripping into my eyes, increased exhaustion (even after a short run!) and slower times used to drive me crazy. 

It’s about to get hot and humid in Atlanta, so now is the time to start preparing. With typical temperature in the high 80's and low 90's in early June, we can't change the fact that it will be hot, but we can prepare.

Why is the heat such a problem?

1. Dehydration can be more serious than most people realize. As the weather grows warmer, we sweat more, which means more fluid loss. Dehydration puts you at risk for heat illness, heat stroke and even death. If you are dehydrated or worse, it will impact your ability to train and recover. Make sure you knowing the signs of dehydration so that you can catch it before it becomes a problem. 

Signs of dehydration:

  • feeling thirsty

  • headaches

  • muscle cramps

  • dry eyes or mouth

  • exhaustion

  • light headedness

  • mental confussion

  • weakness

  • increased core body temperature

2. It's harder to sweat. As we work, our body has to heat up, and we have to release that heat or our core temperature increases too much. Approximately 90% of the heat produced is lost through evaporation. When it is humid out, the increased water in the air makes it more difficult for the sweat to evaporate. This can ultimately cause a salt imbalance within the cells that can be life threatening. 

What can you do to get ready?

  1. Replenish your water, electrolyte and glycogen stores after every workout. 

  2. Acclimate: It will be a lot harder to run outside in July if you have been running on the treadmill for months. Make sure you are running outside consistently so that your body can adjust over time. 

  3. Adjust expectations: Your body has to work harder with every step, so don't expect to be able to run like it is 50 degrees out! If you adjust your expectations, you will be less disappointed. 

  4. Use technology: Runners Connect and other apps provide online calculators to adjust your pace based on the temperature and humidity. Use this on hot runs to make adjustments and prevent overtraining in the heat.

Good luck out there and stay safe!!!

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