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409 Summer Runs 2011-06-02

running inthe heat of the summer

A couple of summers ago I was running down a main thoroughfare in the middle of the day. It was hot, real hot. A car pulled up next to me as I was waiting for a light. The driver rolled down the passenger side window and proceeded to tell me that it was not safe to run in the heat. His lecture lasted until the light finally changed. I was touched that the stranger cared so much to give me free advice; but it was hot before I left the house on my run. I continued to run despite the heat and was sweating before I left the yard. The bottom line is that I like running in the heat.

The spring in Nashville has been cold and wet. Just last week I was still wearing a jacket in the mornings but then on schedule, Memorial Day came and so did the blazes. Now it is hot. I would have rather slowly changed from the cold to heat but after running in the sun for a few days, I feel stronger each day. If you are planning on doing anything outside in the summer it is important for your body to be conditioned to the heat. I acclimate to the heat. Then, when I find myself stuck on a hot trail, the heat does not debilitate me. I might not like it but I am ready for it.

So for a few tips on how to run when the heat is on high ...

To track my water weight loss I usually weigh before and after each run. Then I drink accordingly.

I drink at least sixteen ounces before going out in the heat.

I start running slowly and then consider slowing down.

I monitor my heat and breathing. I do not wear a heart monitor even though for those that do, it is not a bad idea. If my breathing is labored I slow down.

Shortly after leaving the house I begin sweating and sweat profusely. That's okay, the sweat keeps me from overheating.

By paying attention to the sun and wind direction, I try to plan my route to take advantage of the conditions. If I want to be in the sun, I choose a non-shady route and if it is so hot that I want to stay out of the sun, I then choose a shady route. Also on very hot days i plan to climb hills that are facing the wind if possible.

Often times just changing sides of the street gains shade.

I carry a bandana (handkerchief) in my hand to keep the sweat out of my eyes.

In my other hand I carry a water bottle. I search for locations on the route where I can refill the bottle if need be.

I always wear a shirt so that my sweat will help cool me by evaporation.

Hats generally make me hotter unless I am going to be in the sun all day.

I slowly build distance.

It is okay to walk.

It is okay to stop in the shade to cool down a bit.

At the end of the run I weigh to check how much water I need to drink. Also, if I feel a little off, I take electrolyte tablets.

I do not run in the heat with my dog, Jake; but I do like to take him for a walk as I cool down. The walk is better than leaking sweat all over the house!

We keep the house warm and that helps me once again get used to the heat.

I used to take a quarter with me so I could call home for a ride if things got too bad. Now you can't even find a pay phone so I just leave the quarter at home!

So, you ask, "Wouldn't it be easier just to run when it was not so hot?" Yeah probably, but some like it hot.

Happy hot running trails


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