Running in the Heat

Hydration and Exercising on Hot days 

It is hot these days and that means we need to make sure we stay hydrated. Simply drinking water is not enough. When we sweat we lose a lot of electrolytes (minerals). If you don’t ever get cramps and then all the sudden on a hot day, you find yourself experiencing one, be careful, it could be the early signs of heat illness. I was on a run and felt a stitch coming on. I did not care, I had to stop and get water and since then I have been more mindful of my fluid intake and ways to prevent heat illness on hot days. 

Dehydration increases fatigue and impacts your form, thus making you susceptible to injury. Being dehydrated also increases DOMS (muscle soreness), so hydrating after helps facilitate in a speedier recovery.

Why Hydrating is important. 

Lack of proper hydration can lead to serious problems that can cause heat stroke or heat exhaustion.  This happens when the body’s cooling system shuts down and body temperatures rise above normal . Here is a table that breaks down the difference between the two. 

 

Heat exhaustion symptoms Heat stroke symptoms
general weakness elevated body temperature above 103F (39.4C)
increased heavy sweating rapid and strong pulse or heart rate
a weak but faster pulse or heart rate loss or change of consciousness
nausea or vomiting hot, red, dry, or moist skin
possible fainting
pale, cold, clammy skin

How much water should you drink ?

Everyone sweats at a different rate. Weighing yourself before and after exercise can help indicate how much water you have lost. According to Burke., L.M. et al and Sawka et al it is recommended to drink 1.5 L of water for each Kg of fluid lost. 

It is recommended to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water. So a 100 lb person would drink 50 oz. 

The main electrolytes lost are sodium and chloride. These minerals are important for the regulation of nerve function, muscle contraction (hence why you camp up when dehydrated), absorption of nutrients, blood pressure regulation and the balance of fluids in our body. 

Dehydration also results in fatigue in workouts. So if you train in the morning and went all night without fluids, hydrating in the morning is important. If you slurp down water in a short period of time, that invokes diuretic response ( you excrete it). Simply adding electrolytes to that water will help you retain your fluids.

Other Tips That I Practice

Running during the coolest times of the day are best, but life demands may not always allows for this and sometimes it is still hot even when you wait. 

Wear a white hat training that is thin and made of a synthetic material that allows for evaporation of heat. Bring water on your workouts and drop bottles and go out and back on intervals so you can ingest water. Even having two so one you can pour on your head can really help.

Try to stick to the shade, and adjusting for paces can help. Jack Daniel’s table for pace adjustment is beneficial so you are not too hard on yourself for running a bit slower in heat!