Hot, hot, hot!
It’s that time of year again. It’s hotter than it’s been and you’re not quite ready for it. Marathon training is just getting started and you’ve got a long ways to go. Here are some tips to help you make it through the summer.
- Wear socks made of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from your skin to help prevent blisters and athlete’s foot. For long distance running and long duration exercise, cotton is rotten.
- Fit your running shoes or other sports shoes with the type of sock you intend to wear them with. Get fit each time you buy new shoes.
- Don’t wear sandals or flip-flops when playing sports! Shoes (or barefoot where appropriate and safe) is a better bet. Barefoot beach volleyball, beach or groomed, safe, outdoor surface Frisbee, and some light running is just fine.In general though, be careful when running or walking barefoot outside. Cuts and bee stings are not fun for your feet.
- Build up to your longer distance training slowly. Consider running your long distance runs earlier than usual to avoid midday heat and pollution.
- Break in new sport shoes before racing or using them for a long run or workout.
- Use sunscreen to prevent solar injury to your skin. Don’t forget your feet at the beach. Try to avoid mid-day exposure between the hours of 10am-2pm. Use sunglasses with UV protection.
- Don’t forget to replace your fluids on long runs, but avoid overhydration on events over 4 hours.
- Do wear sport specific running shoes. Running shoes do not have the lateral stability needed for tennis. Help yourself avoid ankle sprains and other injuries and do fit your running shoes or other sports shoes with the type of sock you intend to wear them with. Do replace your running shoes often. Replace them at least every 350 – 450 miles run.
- Be careful running in low light conditions both because of road traffic, uneven pavement and also be aware of increased balance problems.
- This is a great time to experiment. If you are up for something different summer is a fine time to try barefoot running. But be sure to think about what has been working for you and be cautious in changes and transitions. Avoid the terrible too’s when you are trying something new. Too much, too soon, too often, too fast, with too little rest makes a bad combination and contributes to injuries.
Avoiding Heat Stress Injury
- Hydration: Drink adequate fluid 30 – 45 minutes before exercise and then a cupful every 20 minutes while exercising. If you are over 40 your thirst mechanism, may not be as effective a gauge of your water needs. Drinking fluid, while exercising and after completion will help speed your recovery. Sport replacement drinks are superior to water at longer distances and times (over 60 – 90 minutes). The electrolytes and carbohydrates in them will also help speed your recovery from the stress of fluid loss and your long distance run. Somehow they do seem to taste great in the heat and the good taste encourages you to drink more and replace your fluids. After long runs a carbohydrate/protein mix will help repair tissue, replenish muscle glycogen, and speed your recovery. Chocolate milk is ideal. ( A tad of protein mix such as whey protein tossed in makes it even better.)
- Avoid Overhydration: Hyponatremia or low sodium is a danger on very long runs and slow marathons. Make sure you do not weigh more at the end of the race or run than you did before, or you have over hydrated which can result in serious medical problems.
- Acclimatization: Gradually build up your tolerance for running in warmer weather.
Stay Fit and don’t overestimate your level of fitness: Individuals with a higher VO2 Max are more tolerant of heat tolerance than those with a lower level of fitness.
- Watch your health: Make sure you are aware of both medical conditions that you have and medications that can affect your tolerance of exercise in the heat. Medical conditions affecting your heat tolerance include diabetes, high blood pressure, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, obesity and fever.
- Dress Cool: Wear light weight shorts and a singlet rather than a tea shirt, to permit evaporation of perspiration.