If you are running in an area that enjoys high temperatures, you must take steps to avoid heat related medical conditions. There are a number of serious conditions that can result from running in the heat, including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, dehydration and hyponatremia. These dangerous conditions can rear their ugly head at any time, but are especially dangerous when racing and your effort level is high.
Take steps to avoid these heat related illnesses and you will safely enjoy your running throughout the hot summer months.
The symptoms of hyponatremia include: nausea, muscle cramps, confusion, slurred speech, unsteady stride and disorientation. Because these symptoms mimic those of heat exhaustion, many runners make the mistake of increasing water consumption, which make the condition even worse. To avoid this, drink only sports drinks during events lasting longer that 1 hour.
1) If high temperatures are expected to be high, try to plan your workout for early in the morning when temperatures are at their lowest.
2) Drink a lot of fluid. Take in at least 6 to 12 oz. of fluid every 15 minutes. If your workout or race is going to last longer than 1 hour, drink a sports drink containing sodium, instead of water.
3) Wear a hat. A hat with a brim will keep much of the sun off of your head and face.
4) Wear sunscreen. Make sure you use a brand that is sweat proof.
5) Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing. Light colors will reflect some of the heat. There are a number of high-tech fabrics available that will wick the moisture away from your body and aid in cooling.
6) Warm up, rest and cool down in the shade. Direct sunlight can cause a rise in body temperature.
7) If you are planning a race in hot weather, try to get in at least two weeks of training in similar weather. This will help acclimate your body to the higher temperatures.
8) Check your urine color. If your urine becomes dark, you are dehydrated.