What comes to mind when you think of summer running? Sweat, awkward tan lines, early wake up calls? Agreed. Summer runs can be brutal between finding a cool time to go for a run and trying not to chafe in shorts. While it seems silly to talk about, there comes a point where listening to your body is of the utmost importance!
Heat safety is a huge factor for summer sports- your body has cooling mechanisms, such as sweating, to help dissipate heat. With summer runs, it may seem inevitable that you’ll end up having to head outside on a day with high humidity or when the sun is strongest. Especially when that day is race day.
Twice in the last year I can recall having some degree of heat exhaustion- it’s not pretty. The most recent being this past week at Beach 2 Beacon where the 100% humidity forced me to pull back my pace and save my goal time for the next race. I listened to my body, chugged waters mid and post race, and even still woke up that night with chills and nausea. Water. Rest Repeat.
The worse case was last year at the Chicago Marathon (and I know I have never talked about that heartbreak on here- so this is a piece of my story). Unfavorable running weather for October- high 70s, 80 something percent humidity, and not a cloud in the sky- a runner’s nightmare. It was all going well up to mile 17 until I got tunnel vision and an unquenchable thirst. Mile 20.5 was when my friend found me from the sideline, hugged me, and said I felt cold despite how sweaty I was. Um what??? I kept moving… barely forward and still in my “tunnel.” This should have been a “listen to your body” moment, but the thought of not crossing the finish line broke my heart.
My point here is that heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very real and very scary. Be sure to take precautions to keep yourself safe during these last hot weeks of summer.
- Try running early before the sun is too strong
- Avoid days with high humidity or heat index
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after- recover with electrolytes
- Know the signs/symptoms of both heat exhaustion and stroke.
- Listen to your body!!
Aka the girl who breaks her own rules