First off, let’s make one thing clear. A very hot summer day isn’t an excuse for not staying active. It is possible to run when it’s hot outside. If you let the weather on days when it rains or snows stop you in your tracks or if Arctic freezes or heat waves keep you homebound, you won’t be donning your running shoes very often!
Rest assured. You CAN run even when the mercury rises. Now, there are a few rules of thumb to follow to run in a prudent, intelligent and vigilant manner to avoid getting overheated.
Moreover, whether it’s hot or not, a wise runner always stays active while exercising prudence. Follow these five rules, and you’ll be in business.
The proper clothing
While the clothes don’t necessarily make the man, they can make all the difference when you work out during a heat wave! A savvy runner knows that being well outfitted on hot days is the key to staying comfortable, which also automatically improves your state of mind and leads to better quality workouts.
A savvy runner knows that being well outfitted on hot days is the key to staying comfortable, which also automatically improves your state of mind and leads to better quality workouts.
Choose technical clothing made of synthetic material that is sweat and moisture wicking. Not only is it ultra-lightweight, but it also produces less friction and, therefore, less irritation. Remember also to cover your head with a cap which will protect you from the elements, such as wind, rain or, most importantly, the burning-hot sun.
The proper time
Some people hesitate to change their usual training schedule. But, habit or not, a savvy runner knows that it’s a bad idea to run at noon when it’s 37 degrees Celsius and smarter to schedule their workout according to outdoor temperature and weather factors!
When a heat wave hits, try to adjust your schedule to run very early in the morning or at dusk. Since the change you’re making is temporary, you may find that it adds a bit of spice to your routine! If you run when the sun has risen, make a point of staying in the shade. In short, seek out the coolest spots available to run!
The proper intensity
Since the evaporation of sweat is what helps the body cool down, when you exercise in a warm and humid environment, the body must pump more blood to the skin to evacuate heat. Consequently, less oxygenated blood is available for your muscles and your heart, which must work harder since it cannot pump as much blood per beat. When it’s hot outside, you’ll need to work harder to maintain the same speed you run when it’s cooler.
A savvy runner accepts that working out when it’s hot will probably be harder, that they’ll perform at a lower level than usual and that it’s OK, and in fact recommended, to lower their workout intensity. Follow the savvy runner’s example; shorten the length of your run or decrease your speed, and rely on your perception of effort rather than your tracking data and your watch.
The proper hydration
Sweating too much can lead to dehydration, a situation you want to avoid at all costs! That’s why a savvy runner has a true passion for hydration. Make sure you are hydrated before you start your workout. Drink a little water regularly, rather than swallowing 2 litres of liquid 10 minutes before you head out. A good indicator of adequate hydration is the colour of your urine. Aim for the colour of lemonade, not apple juice!
If you run for more than 30 minutes, bring water with you or plan a "hydration stop" on your course! Next, if your run lasts more than an hour, a sports drink is necessary to provide you with carbohydrates and electrolytes to ensure better workout recovery and rehydrate adequately.
Moreover, keep in mind that drinking very cold water before and during your workout will help lower your body temperature.
5. The proper attitude
Finally, nothing will make you feel hotter than constantly repeating the words “I’m dying of heat!” Knowing that heat goes hand in hand with summer, a savvy runner maintains a positive attitude no matter what the temperature! By keeping their equanimity, they can better appreciate their favourite sport and be sure they can adapt to temperature and weather factors without letting these factors affect their mood!
Knowing that heat goes hand in hand with summer, a savvy runner maintains a positive attitude no matter what the temperature!
Your state of mind has a huge impact on your physical performance. Therefore, don’t waste energy complaining. Instead, choose to enjoy the blue sky above you or how lucky you are to have the chance to go running. Best of all, your body will acclimate to the heat. After seven to ten day of training at higher temperatures, physiological adaptations will take place that will make your workout less taxing! So, there’s hope! Be patient, and increase your workout intensity gradually.
Finally, even if you take the necessary precautions, the heat can sometimes get the better of us. Stay on the alert, and stop exercising if you get a headache, feel dizzy, nauseous, tired or experience any other type of issue. Otherwise, stay active and well hydrated, be positive and cheerful and enjoy summer!
1) Roberts, M. F., and C. B. Wenger. "Control of Skin Circulation during Exercise and Heat Stress." Medicine and Science in Sports. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1979. Web. 19 June 2017.
2) "L'hydratation Et Le Sport - Les Faits." Dietitians of Canada. N.p., 14 June 2016. Web.
3) Shapiro, Y., D. Moran, and Y. Epstein. "Acclimatization Strategies--preparing for Exercise in the Heat." International Journal of Sports Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 1998. Web. 19 June 2017.
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