Tag Archives: heat

Hydration for Running

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Your body is mostly water.  It only makes sense that a hydrated body functions better.  If you want health and performance, you will keep your body topped off with liquids as you go.  So, on a hot day, you might drink as much as a cup of water or watered down sports drink every 15 minutes. If you put it in as fast as you sweat it out, your body will thank you by staying healthy and performing as best as it can.  On the water hydration coupleother hand, it is possible to drink too much.  Current recommendations are to drink to thirst. If you are thirsty, drink.  If you are not thirsty, don’t. Any way you handle it, make sure you have access to plenty of water and/or sports drink while you run.

You should still be careful after the run! Most of us continue sweating long after the last step of the run.  Hence, it is important to keep your tank topped off!  There are now quite a few choices for sports drinks to recover after the workout.  The top choice remains the same as it has always been… good old water!

Electrolyte Supplements

Water is not all that leaves as we sweat!  We also lose minerals that play a critical role in our bodies.  They are called electrolytes.  Without these minerals and enough water, the muscles begin to cramp.  Muscle cramps are painful and cause damage.  Even if you do not reach the point of cramping, failing to replace the electrolytes means poor performance and frustration.

For some, simply drinking a sports drink provides enough electrolytes.  Other need more than the amount offered through sports drinks.  Electrolyte supplements come in powders, tablets, pills, & capsules.

Even though I require much more electrolytes than the average runner, I use the strategy of taking as little as possible.  You discover this by starting with the minimum suggested dose on the supplement label.  How do you know if it is enough?  Personally, I know that I have not taken enough Endurolyte Capsules if my leg muscles are twitching as I am relaxing after the run.  If so, I will take another capsule or two until it subsides.  Over time, you begin to learn what is right for you.

Regardless of which drinks and supplements you use, it is your job to make sure you get enough.  Your body is depending on you and so is your running performance.

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run!

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Effects of Heat and Humidity on Running Pace

I ran a 5K last night at 9 pm.  For the previous three nights, it had been 100 degrees at 9 pm.  Thankfully, it had cooled off to a frosty 85 or so.  Still, that made it 15 degrees warmer than the race in which I set my recent PR back in April.

My PR pace was 6:11, but in last night’s race, I ran a 6:35 pace.  That got me to wondering about the impact of the heat and humidity.

How is running pace impacted by heat & humidity?

Heat

When you run strenuously in temperatures above 60°F, your core body temperature is raised.  Your body’s natural cooling system kicks in; some of the blood that would have been going to your running muscles gets diverted to the capillaries of your skin to cool it off.  That cooler blood then returns to your core and that brings your core temperature down.  What a great invention!  Unfortunately, that means less blood in your running muscles.  That means less oxygen.  It also means that your system of removing the waste byproducts from the muscles can get backed up as well.  Both of these result in a slower pace.

Temperature changes also alter the density of the air.  More dense, more oxygen with each intake of breath.  i.e. colder weather makes you faster.

Add it all up and you get:  cold weather facilitates a faster speed.  Heat slows you down.  This is one of the main reasons you see the majority of marathons in the Spring & Fall.

Humidity

Humidity also affects your core body temperature.  This is because sweating is one of the main functions of your body’s cooling system.  For sweat to do its job, it needs to evaporate and take some heat with it.  Unfortunately, high humidity means slower evaporation.  Slower evaporation of sweat means slower cooling.  That means that your body’s core temperature is not being lowered effectively.  Final result: high humidty leads to slower pace.

Conclusion

I have not found a formula that can tell us how much we will slow down, but you need to understand that you can’t run at your optimal pace in less than optimal conditions.  If you slow down a little in the heat & humidity, give yourself a break.  Your body is doing the right thing.

The good news is that even though your training might be slowed a great deal during the summer, your training will lead to MUCH faster times when things cool off again.

Have patience.  Forgive yourself for the slower pace.

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“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

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Feel the Heat! Staying Healthy in Hot Weather

Summer is known for fun times with family and friends, but it has another side to it…the dog days of summer. These are the longest, hottest days of the year. For people that only work out inside, it is not much of a bother. For the runners and other patrons of the great outdoors, however, there is no escaping it for very long. With a heat index over 100 degrees, how can you get in a good workout AND stay healthy? Here are a few pointers:

Staying on Course

The right course for running on in the heat is shady. Even among shady areas, some paths are naturally cooler than others. A low-lying path next to a cool stream will be much cooler than your average route. Find a cool, shady course and it will be much easier to stay on course with your workout.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Water and sports drinks are your friends. Staying well hydrated before, during, and after a run in the heat is absolutely critical. You should be drinking water all day. Not all liquids are good for hydration. Stay away from diuretics such as caffeine, as these can dry you out and set you up for disaster.

A hydrated body functions better. If you want health and performance, you will keep your body topped off with liquids as you go. So, on a hot day, drink about a cup of water or watered down sports drink every 15 minutes. If you put it in as fast as you sweat it out, your body will thank you by staying healthy and performing as best as it can.

You should still be careful after the run! Most of us continue sweating long after the last step of the run. Hence, it is important to keep your tank topped off! There are now quite a few choices for sports drinks to recover after the workout. The top choice remains the same as it has always been… good old water!

Ease into It

Imagine you are about to get into a really hot tub of water. Do you jump in as quickly as possible or do you ease into it slowly and get used to it. If you are smart, you choose plan B and ease into it slowly. The same idea applies to running in extreme heat. If you have been running just about every day for moths, then it is likely that you gradually acclimated to the rising temperature as summer approached. Now that it is oppressively hot, it is only a little different than what you have been doing. That is easing into it. You still have to be careful, but the heat is just not a big deal. If you have been on a treadmill every day in an air conditioned gym, however, switching to running outside can be deadly if you choose to make the switch on an oppressively hot day. Don’t even think about it!

The Alternative: Heat Stroke

What if you were not careful? What if you ran in direct sun and failed to stay hydrated while you run outside in the heat for the first time in a long time. What would that be like?

Cause:   Extreme exertion and dehydration impair your body’s ability to maintain an optimal temperature

Symptoms:  Core body temp of 104 or above, headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse, disorientation

Treatment:  Emergency medical treatment is necessary for immediate ice-water immersion and IV-fluids

Conclusion

Play it safe!   Stay hydrated and go easy so you can stay healthy and survive to run hard on a cooler day.

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Train hard, race easy, & enjoy the run!

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