Running in the Heat

Man it has been hot!! The last couple of runs have been almost unbearable as Calgary goes through the hottest summer since the 1960’s. It has had me thinking about how hot it too hot to run.

I recently listened to the audio book by Dean Karnazes called Ultramarathonmanwhich described onc race in the desert somewhere in Nevada where temperatures during the day hit something like 150 degrees – so I don’t want to sound like I am complaining but man, when you are used to temperatures during the summer of around 75 – 80 degrees this 90 degree weather is hard to deal with.

I did some digging around and found a good article at Marathonguide.com – here are their recommended suggestions for running in the heat:

1) It takes approximately two weeks of consistent running in the heat and humidity to acclimate to warmer conditions.

2) Remember that thirst is not an indicator of dehydration. Once you are thirsty, you are already low on fluids. Indications of dehydration are an elevated heart rate during and after your run and dark, golden-colored urine. After your run, keep drinking fluids until your urine is clear.

3) During your run, drink about 4 to 8 ounces of water and/or sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes.

4) Weigh yourself before and after your run. Drink 16 ounces of fluid for every pound of weight lost. *Important note here… do not use this as a method of weight loss!

5) Apply a sunscreen of at least SPF #15. Make sure that it is a non-drip formula that won’t drip into your eyes.

6) Wear sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB rays and/or wear a cap with a visor.

7) Wear light-colored micro-fiber clothing.

8) Run when your shadow is taller than you are, and when the sun is not high in the sky. If you run in the morning, you’ll avoid the heat, but may encounter a higher humidity. The air quality is also better in the morning, since ozone levels increase soon after dawn, peak at midday, and then again in the early evening. Times to avoid running are noon till 3pm.

9) Eat salty foods and drinks such as pretzels and tomato juice.

10) Check the Heat Index Chart for apparent temperature. This is the number that calculates the air temperature with the relative humidity to determine what the temperature feels like and if there is a risk of a heat-related illness.

These all make pretty good sense – easier said than done for some of them.