summer doesn't officially start for a few more weeks, but high temperatures are already here to stay! as you've probably already noticed, your usual pace feels a lot harder in the heat than in cooler temperatures. your body needs time to adapt to heat and humidity, and acclimating to the heat helps reduce your risk of heat related illness.
follow these tips to help your body adjust:
slow down and monitor your heart rate
while you're still adapting to the heat, try to run by effort level rather than pace. for example, if your normal easy run pace is 7:30 per mile, ease up to 8:30-9:00 per mile. you may still feel the effects of the heat even at a much slower pace (such as increased heart rate or sweat rate). make sure you do at least 3-4 easy workouts before resuming your normal training effort.
plan your route
if you can, plan a route with accessible water fountains. your body will react differently to the heat, and you may find you need more fluid than during a normal workout. running or riding by water fountains means you have a plan b if you run out of water. focusing on proper hydration throughout the day will help ensure a smooth training session and lower your risk of dehydration or heat-related illness.
as the temperature rises, so does your sweat rate and your need for electrolytes. drinking plain water, particularly during times of high perspiration, can lead to hyponatremia (also known as over-hydrating). too much plain water can end up flushing out critical electrolytes that are needed to maintain many of the body's internal functions. during hyponatremia (when your sodium stores are low), the body starts searching internally for sodium and will turn to your kidneys for sodium in order to maintain vital functions. this can lead to kidney failure, which can lead to cardiac arrest. so for those longer runs, carry a bottle with you and make you throw in a tablet or two of nuun.
know the signs of dehydration and heat-related illness:
- muscle cramping
- excessive thirst
- dry skin or mouth
- increased heart rate
- low blood pressure