Springtime training for the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon/Marathon can mean dealing with high temperatures. You can take some extra precautions to make the most of your run.
For most of us, the warmer months are a great time to be active. Yet vigorous exercise in the heat equates to lots of sweat, irritable moods and sometimes-dangerous health issues. If you’re training for a fall run in the heat, you can take some extra precautions to make the most of your run.
Here are some ways you can stay cool while running in hot weather.
Get out the door early (or late)
Take advantage of the extra daylight and run in the early morning or evening, avoiding peak sun hours. If running during the afternoon, look for a shady trail instead of running in direct sunlight.
Keep updated on heat advisories and air quality alerts. Rearrange your training schedule if the day is unusually hot or humid. Check the weather early in the week and adjust your runs accordingly.
Block the sun
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to deflect the sun’s rays and allow your body to cool. A hat or visor can block the sun from directly hitting your face. In addition, wear UV-rated sunglasses to protect your eyes, and always use water- and sweat-proof sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
Drink 8 to 10 ounces of water 15 minutes before your run and then every 15 minutes during your run. A hydration pack or fuel belt allows you to carry water on the go. If possible, plan your route around water fountains or stores where you can refill your water mid-run. You’re also losing electrolytes when you sweat, so in addition to replenishing water, replenish electrolytes with a sports drink.
Walk to run
Add in walking breaks to keep your core temperature in check, allowing you to run with better quality and reduce the chance of developing heat stress. When the weather cools, you can increase the run-to-walk ratio until you are running continuously.
The heat can actually help.
Join the Kentucky Derby Festival Norton Sports Health Training group to connect with other participants and get support from athletic and sports health professionals.
Go to NortonRun.com and sign up to receive text messages for training run updates and cancellations.
When done properly, training in the heat actually strengthens your cardiovascular system. In the fall, after a hot summer season, you may find you can run faster and with less effort.
Listen to your body and know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Your body cools itself by sweating, but as the heat and humidity increase, your core temperature rises faster than your body can cool. That’s when you’re at risk for heat-related illness. Signs of heat cramps are muscle spasms and pain. Signs of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, rapid breathing, weak pulse, headache and nausea. Signs of heat stroke are rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and vomiting.