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Beat the Heat While on Your Feet

Jul 7, 2016, 12:27 PM
GRMC running in the heatWarmer weather means rifling through the snow boots and winter coats in the closet in search of long-forgotten running shoes. No matter if you’re slipping into your new out-of-the-box Nikes or Brooks that have more miles on them than your car, all runners need to respect our solar system’s central flaming ball of gas, the sun. If you’re running for the first time or the hundredth, here are a couple tips to help stay a few paces ahead of the heat.

Midwest scorchers can reach in excess of 100°F—not exactly an ideal temperature to experiment whether you can pick up where you left off in the fall. Acclimation to high temperatures is necessary to avoid heat-related health issues. The human body takes roughly two weeks to familiarize itself to heat. During this period, individuals should shorten their runs and cut back on their speed. Pushing your body too hard before your body is acclimated can cause heat stroke, exhaustion, fainting, and a slew of other health issues onset by heat. Mornings and evenings are ideal times to squeeze a run in, as the sun is not high in the sky.

Help your body dissipate heat in style. No, we’re not suggesting you don a Rocky Balboa sweat suit in the blazing heat. Instead, wear light, loose athletic clothing on your run. Lighter clothing reflects heat, opposed to darker colors that literally turn runners into heat magnets. Loose clothing allows better air flow and doesn’t trap heat against your body. Athletic clothing composed of synthetic blends help wick sweat away from the body. Areas of the body that are not protected from the sun should be slathered in SPF 30 sunscreen—think of it as a camouflage against UV rays; if it can’t ‘see’ you, it can’t easily harm you.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Hydrate before you run. Hydrate during your run. Hydrate after your run.   Want to know if you’re properly hydrated? Give your urine a quick visual check; it should be a pale yellow color, think light, refreshing lemonade pale. While running, try to consume four to eight ounces of fluid every 20 minutes.  The faster you’re running, the more fluid you should be consuming. It’s like miles per gallon, or miles per ounces, in this scenario. You can’t run for long without fuel. A few easy wa
ys to hydrate on the run include strapping on a hydration pack, planting water bottles throughout your route, or planning a course that goes by drinking fountains. Staying hydrated will help fight off headaches, fatigue, and cramps.

Hopefully these few tips will help you enjoy your summer runs—or at least not despise them as much.


Written by Nick Moorehead, GRMC summer intern