Running safely in the heat

Goodr, Hydration, Ronhill, Torq -

Running safely in the heat

‘Ooh, it’s too hot!’
No, I’m not going to say those words, but as we are not used to consistent hotter temperatures, we need to be careful when maintaining our running. Many people will also be training for the London Marathon or another autumn marathon and will not want to be missing any runs. However, we do need to stop for a moment and think carefully about how to maintain our running in high temperatures as it has risks, these can be mild or in extreme cases very severe. Here are some of them:

• Heat cramps (severe abdominal or large-muscle cramps)
• Heat fainting
• Heat exhaustion (core body temperature of 102° to 104°F, headache, fatigue, profuse sweating, nausea, clammy skin)
• Hyponatremia – excessive water intake (headache, disorientation, muscle twitching)
• Heat stroke – (core body temp of 104° or more, headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse, disorientation)

The last two, hyponatremia and heat stroke, require emergency medical treatment so we could say the safest thing is to not run at all. But if you are stubborn like me then you do not want to miss a run so what is the safest way to carry on. In two words Be Flexible!

1. Adjust the time of day when you run, try and get out early in the morning or evening. I prefer the morning as it always seems to be cooler over the evening. If going out later in the evening, then do not leave it so late that it affects your sleep.
2. Adjust the type of runs you are doing, be prepared to ditch the high intensity workouts if you can only run during the day when its hotter. Be prepared to run slower and only pick up the pace if you are still feeling ok.
3. Seek out shaded routes and go off-road. Cities and urban areas are always hotter due to the concrete absorbing the heat so try and find a park or green space.
4. Stay hydrated throughout the day, not just before going running. Drink little and often, there are even apps you can use to remind you to drink. Water is good but drinking an electrolyte sports drink will be even more beneficial as they increase your water-absorption rate and replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat. TORQ Energy drink is great as it is a naturally flavoured light and refreshing vegan isotonic energy drink formulated using fast-delivery 2:1 Maltodextrin:Fructose and 5 key electrolytes. Have 500ml about 40-60 minutes before going out on a run.

5. How much to drink whilst running? One of the best ways to know how much to drink is to do a sweat test, as the rate at which we sweat varies so much in each person. As a rule, we do not want to lose more than 2-3% of body mass as a result of sweat loss. Training Peaks has a good guide on how to calculate your own sweat rate:

On the run, Torq Hydration vegan drink is excellent as it uses passive and facilitated transport mechanisms to optimise fluid and electrolyte delivery. It is the most thorough and effective hydration product on the market today.

6. Wear as little as possible but please do not go naked, we do not want to add sunburn to the list of risks! Always wear a hat, sunglasses (Goodr’s are fantastically funky but also practical as they don’t budge) and sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30. Wear apparel that is light in weight and colour and has vents or mesh. I recommend the Ronhill Tech Revive Racer Vest, it is made from recycled yarns and is a highly breathable and moisture-wicking vest.
7. Check for a breeze and run with it on the first half of the run and into it heading back as the breeze can have a cooling effect.
8. Just slow down. Every 5°F rise in temperature above 60°F can slow your pace by as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile. So be realistic, especially if you have a race coming up. I have run several marathons and have experienced the loss of performance due to the heat. If training, then going slower is still going to build your aerobic base and protect you from injury. Adjust your training plan and use it as a taper/recovery week and then get back to it when the temperature drops.

If all else fails, then don’t run but do a rain dance instead!

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