No matter how long we train in the current hot weather and humidity, running in that type of weather is always challenging. Heat is a runner’s enemy, no matter how much we hydrate, our body is affected by the constant hot weather, our performance decreases, and our stamina levels go down.
First and foremost, hydration is key; If we want to maintain a consistent performance, we need to have access to water even for 10K runs. For training under 1 hour in heat and humidity, to be able to push ourselves, we need to be able to drink water at least once. If you don’t want to carry water, make sure you pick a course where you have access to water fountains. For runs over 10K, electrolytes are very important, we suffer from the continuous sweating, our body quickly gets depleted of key electrolytes like sodium, magnesium and potassium. It is also important to hydrate pre-run; for runs under 1 hr, water is sufficient, but for runs over 90 mins, drinking some electrolytes before the run can be very beneficial. For runs over 90 mins the recommended fluid intake is 7-10oz/ 10-mins, and 200-500mg of sodium/ hr.
There are certain tips to follow to make it easier to run or race in hot weather, especially for long runs. When running in hot and humid conditions, to look after both our inner and outer systems is key to be able to maintain a stable performance and endurance levels. We need to find ways to keep our core and body cool, keep our body temperature within normal range will make a huge difference in sustaining our stamina.
Keeping our inner system cool:
-Try to drink cold liquids, or if you have access, even eat some ice cubes. Swallowing some ice will be very efficient in lowering the core temperature.
-Another way to cool down our internal temperature, is to find ways to use a cooling agent- ice, cold compress, wetted fabric on specific areas of the body that have major arteries near the skin surface. An easy way is to use a buff, fill it with ice and put it around the neck. The blood circulating through that artery is eventually transported to the heart and the entire body. Another area with a major artery near the skin’s surface is the wrist, so to wear a cooling wristband around the wrist will have a similar effect. Other ways of cooling our inner system is putting ice in our running tops or bras, on our head, which are all effective ways to cool the heart. Now we can even find ice pockets in clothing, manufactured by some running companies.
Keeping our exterior system cool:
-Keeping our skin cool is very helpful in cooling down our exterior system. Wetting our running tops with cold water, wearing cooling arm sleeves and calf sleeves is always a great way to maintain a lower core temperature.
-One bit of caution, is to be careful with the type of sunscreen we use, some creams tend to clog pores, which prevents the skin’s natural ability to cool. So, it is also important to test the type of sunscreen you use before doing long distance-runs.
The key is to look after both our inner and outer systems, hydrate properly pre-run, during, and post-run.
Enjoy your summer runs:)
Train Hard, Eat Right, and Feel Great!