Today’s temperature is expected to climb above 85 degrees here in the mid-Atlantic region after a spring of slightly below normal temperatures. This is a time when runners struggle…
We need to acclimate our bodies to the heat and humidity and we should expect our runs to be a little less than stellar for about a week or so. Cut your speed and/or mileage back slightly when the temps spike, and then gradually build back up. You should be acclimatized within two weeks.
As the heat and humidity of summer hits and we sweat more, our fluid intake will need to increase as well. The more we sweat, the more we need to drink. That’s water, people! 🙂 Basically, your pee should look like diluted lemonade. If it’s dark yellow, you’re dehydrated.
There is a risk of drinking too much water and depleting your system of the necessary sodium it needs. This rare condition is called hyponatremia and most likely occurs in endurance athletes that drink too much water trying to make sure they are well hydrated. If you see a fellow runner with a headache, vomiting, confusion, etc; or otherwise suspect that person is suffering from hyponatremia, offer them a sports drink to help restore their sodium levels. If conditions persist, seek medical help immediately!
You should also be aware of other heat related illnesses. Heat exhaustion happens when the body overheats, usually due to excessive sweating. Typical symptoms of heat exhaustion are thirst, headache, dizziness, goose bumps, and nausea. If you or a friend experiences this, you should stop running immediately, find shade, or an air conditioned building, and drink water and/or a sports drink.
A much more serious heat related illness is heat stroke. You may experience the same symptoms as heat exhaustion prior to your body’s cooling system completely shutting down when your core body temperature reaches 104 degrees or higher. You will actually stop sweating. You may become disoriented, confused, and pass out. People experiencing heat stroke should be cooled immediately by getting them to a cool place, placing ice packs on them, getting water and/or a sports drink in them, and getting them medical care. Heat stoke left untreated can result in major organ damage and even death.
A couple of years ago after spending four hours cutting the grass on an extremely hot and humid day, I felt dizzy, had a horrible headache, had muscle weakness, and a ringing in my ears. Despite continuously drinking water and drinking a Gatorade half-way through, it was not enough. When I finished, I drank more water and started to feel better. The next day I still had ringing in my ears and decided to Google it and see what might be causing the ringing. I discovered that most likely my sodium levels were still depleted from my excessive sweating. I drank a Gatorade and the ringing went away almost immediately.
Just for fun, and because I know you want to know what I had for lunch… I met two of my very dear girlfriends at a local restaurant for lunch. I’m the girl that asked to combine three different salads to make the perfect one customized for my palette! We decided that it should go on their menu!
We ate outdoors under a canopy of wisteria. It was very pretty!
I’m off to pick up my race packet for tomorrow’s TKO Melanoma 5K. Wish me luck!
- Have you ever experienced a heat related illness?
- How hot is it where you live?
- Who’s racing this weekend?