Summer Sweat Equity – How to Be Safe and Prepare for an Epic Fall Running Season!

Summer Sweat Equity – How to Be Safe and Prepare for an Epic Fall Running Season!

What is the first thing you think of when someone says, “Summertime in Texas”? Sure, it could mean summer vacations or extra pool time, but your first thought is more than likely something about how warm the temperatures are. However, despite these warm temperatures many runners will continue to hit the pavement to get their training miles in for fall races. Training in the heat will ultimately make those runners stronger, especially once cooler temperatures arrive in the fall.
While the heat might seem overwhelming, it is possible for the body to adapt to the higher temperatures, but it takes proper training and safety measures to do so successfully. Below are some tips along with additional resources to help you stay safe this summer while running.

Stay Hydrated!

This is important at any time of the year, but especially in the warmer temperatures. According to NASM, the general recommendations of fluids for men are 125-130 oz/day and 91-95 oz per day for women. You can find fluids in certain foods that make up about 20% of our hydration (such as watermelon, spinach, and grapefruit which are made primarily of water) or beverages which account for 80%. In general, we lose fluids by sweating, which is the body’s process of self-cooling the skin. When temperatures are higher, we sweat more in attempt to cool the body. Because of this, it can be easier to get dehydrated in warmer temperatures. RRCA states that “You can lose between 6 and 12 oz. of fluid for every 20 minutes of running. Therefore, it is important to pre-hydrate and drink fluids every 20-30 minutes along your route”. Additionally, according to NASM, dehydration can decrease high-intensity endurance by about 10%. Runners who are going for longer distances can hydrate also hydrate with sports drinks to replenish electrolytes that may be lost.

In general, it is best practice to carry water during your summer runs, whether it be through a hydration backpack, handheld water bottle, or a hydration belt. This will prevent a situation where water is not accessible, and electrolyte tablets can be added as needed during the run. Overall, don’t over think it! Listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty to avoid over or under hydrating.

Embrace the “Runner’s Tan”

If you regularly run outdoors in the summer, you know the “runner’s tan” is a right of passage and a visual reminder of all the sweat equity put into your training. While the outline of your socks may look silly compared to a tan from the swimming pool, don’t underestimate your exposure to the sun while out running. It is just as important to apply sunscreen before your run as you would before heading to the beach. Also consider wearing a hat and/or sunglasses to protect your scalp and eyes from the bright UV rays.

What NOT to Wear

What you wear while running in the heat is important. Avoid heavy cotton and opt for clothing that is moisture-wicking and lightweight. These materials will help your body stay cool longer, which will assist your body in the cooling process and prevent over-heating and de-hydration.

A Change of Pace Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

According to RRCA, your performance in running at 75 degrees decreases by 7% and over 85 degrees can decrease by 10% or more, especially at the beginning of the summer when your body is used to cooler spring temperatures. Your body can adapt to the heat, but RRCA states that it could take at least 10 days for sweating patterns to adapt so that your body cools itself faster. For these reasons, don’t feel discouraged if you need to change your pace. Your body may even do this naturally and you may notice that although your speeds are slower, your effort is still high. Don’t let a change in pace stop you from getting in the miles. When your body adapts and/or when the temps cool down in the fall you will feel stronger as a runner overall and will be more likely to get back to your faster speeds and then some!

Listen to Your Body and What it is Telling You

It is important to stay alert to your body’s signals when running in higher temperatures. If you start to feel dizzy or nauseous, stop running immediately and find shade to cool down. Assess how your body is feeling and pay attention to other warning signs of heat-related illnesses that could be occurring:

  • Heat Exhaustion: According to the Mayo Clinic, “Heat Exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, as a result of your body overheating”. Other symptoms include clammy skin, muscle cramps, weakness, and dizziness. You can recover from heat exhaustion by moving to a cooler place, using a cold compress, and drinking water.
  • Heatstroke: According to RRCA’s Hot Weather Running Tips, “Heatstroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature, and the body temperature continues to rise”. Symptoms of heatstroke are rapid breathing, racing heart rate, nausea/vomiting, flushed skin, loss of sweat, and confusion. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Plan Ahead and Analyze Your Route

Your route can have a big impact on how much direct sunlight you are exposed to. Do your research and select routes or trails that are shaded by trees. If you do not have access to a shaded route, run in a smaller loop that allows you to pass your home during your run so that you can stop to cool down or grab water as needed. Also consider running early in the morning or late in the evening once the sun has set in order to run at a cooler time.

Know When to Run Indoors

Inevitably, there may be days where the heat is excessive, and you have no other option but to run indoors or take an unplanned rest day. According to RRCA, this is necessary when the heat is above 98.6 degrees and the humidity is 70-80%. The reason being, “if the humidity in the air is so high that it prevents the process of evaporation of sweat from the skin, you can quickly overheat”. In general, pay attention to the weather before you head out for your run so that you can make an informed decision. If you’re not sure or feel uncomfortable, take it to the treadmill!

Written by Ashley Morrison
Ashley has over 17 years of running and racing experience and is both NASM CPT and RRCA Certified. For more running tips and tricks, find Ashley at Run With Ashley on Instagram or on her website and blog.

NASM – Hydration for Health and Performance
RRCA – Hot Weather Running Tips
NASM – Hydration for Health and Performance

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.