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695 Views 0 Replies Latest reply: Sep 7, 2010 10:07 AM by TCNewBalance RSS
TCNewBalance Amateur 16 posts since
Sep 7, 2010
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Sep 7, 2010 10:07 AM

Tips for Hot Weather Running

 

As the dog days of summer hit, you may be tempted to abandon  running  for jumping through a sprinkler or napping in a hammock. If that  makes  you feel a little guilty, take heart: It’s not (just)  laziness—it’s  self-preservation. “When the outside temperature  increases, our bodies  can’t dissipate heat as effectively,” says  exercise physiologist Julia  Moffitt, Ph.D., assistant professor of  physiology and pharmacology at  Des Moines University. “Therefore, our  bodies have a natural  inclination to become less active.” Add other hot-weather roadblocks, such as allergies, dehydration, and even interrupted sleep,   and you may think about storing your running shoes in the closet until   fall. Not so fast. Your performance doesn’t have to suffer just  because  temperatures are ramping up. Here’s how to put the sizzle back  into your  summer running.

 

Summer Setback: HOT TEMPS MAKE YOU LAZY

“When we go out in the cold, our brain tells our  muscles to  contract, which generates heat to keep us warm,” Moffitt  says. When  it’s hot, the opposite happens: The brain instructs the  muscles to  relax to keep body temperature from increasing. “That’s why  you may  feel more motivated to hang out under a shade tree—it’s your  body’s  attempt to avoid overheating,” says Moffitt. Also, the process of   sweating to stay cool diverts blood away from muscles, which may leave   them feeling sluggish.

 

COOL RUNNING Avoid that lethargic feeling  by easing  into hot-weather running, says Moffitt. Do your main workouts  before  10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., and go for a 15-to 20-minute light run  or walk  in the heat of the day. Increase the intensity and length of  your hot  workouts by five to 10 minutes over two weeks. Allow even more  time to  adjust to humid environments, and replace fluids lost through  sweating  with sports drinks.   “When we are gradually exposed to warm environments, our bodies  respond  by being able to more efficiently distribute blood flow, which  helps us  increase sweat production so we can maintain effort without   overheating,” Moffitt says. To stay cool during a run, dump water over   your head, which will help drop your core temperature, says Lewis   Maharam, M.D., medical director for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. Also, a recent study shows that runners who drink ice slushies run about 10 minutes longer than when they have a cold drink.

 

Summer Setback: AH-AH-AH-CHOO!

Pollen from ragweed, Bermuda grass, Blue grasses,  and Red Top grass  are common during the summer, and if you’re  susceptible to allergies,  running can exacerbate symptoms, such as itchy  eyes, sneezing, and  congestion. “Runners have a higher respiratory rate  than less active  people do, which brings more pollen into the nose and  lungs,” says  Nathanael S. Horne, M.D., an allergy and asthma specialist  in New York  City.

 

COOL RUNNING Pollen counts are often  highest  between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so you might find relief by running  later  in the day, Horne says. Allergy sufferers should check pollen.com  for  updates and hit the treadmill when pollen counts are very high.  Shower  immediately after running; pollen that settles on hair, clothes,  and  eyelids can continue to trigger reactions. Runners with contacts  might  fare better wearing their glasses, which may serve as a shield.  Because  rain often removes pollen from the air, Horne says you might  want to  lace up after a storm. You can also try an antihistamine such as   loratadine or cetirizine.

 

Summer Setback: LONGER DAYS = SHORTER NIGHTS = LESS SLEEP

The additional hours of light during the summer  reduce production of  melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy.  This may keep you up  later and wake you earlier. “Even if you are  sleep-deprived by only a  couple of hours, your normal run can seem  harder,” Moffitt says.  Skimping on shut-eye during the summer can be  especially problematic if  you’re training for a fall marathon, as sleep  is important for muscle  recovery after long runs.

 

COOL RUNNING Evening runs mean cooler  temperatures  and less pollen, but don’t head out too late. Your brain  will be  stimulated and your heart rate and body temperature will be  elevated  for two hours after your run. To ward off night sweats that  could  disrupt your sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends using an air conditioner or fan to keep your bedroom cool   (between 55 and 75° F). And use black-out window shades to block out   early-morning sun.

 

Summer Setback: SUPERSWEATY WORKOUTS LEAVE YOU DEHYDRATED

According to a recent British review, losing just  two percent of  your body weight through sweating and dehydration can  diminish your  running performance up to 20 percent and as much as 60  percent in a hot  environment. More important, heat illnesses, such as  cramps and heat  exhaustion, can begin when core temperature rises only a  few degrees  above normal, often related to dehydration from sweat  losses (see  “Danger Zone,” below).

 

COOL RUNNING Start by determining your  sweat rate,  says Mindy Millard-Stafford, Ph.D., director of the exercise  physiology  laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology in  Atlanta. Weigh  yourself naked on a digital scale before and after a run.  For every  pound of weight loss, rehydrate with 16 ounces of fluid. When  you run,  sip a sports drink or water when you’re thirsty, but don’t  drink more  than the amount determined by your sweat rate. To replace  salt and  other electrolytes lost through sweat, eat a snack such as  baked pita  chips dipped in almond butter after a run.

 

Danger Zone

Recognize—and deal with—harmful heat ailments.

Heat Cramps

SPOT IT Spasms in the abdomen, arms, calves, or hamstrings

TREAT IT Stop running for the day; sip sports drink; gently massage the cramp.

Heat Exhaustion

SPOT IT Heavy sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea

TREAT IT Stop running; get in shade; sip sports drink; see a doctor if symptoms continue.

Heat Stroke

SPOT IT Confusion, rapid breathing, fainting, cessation of sweating

TREAT IT Stop running; call for emergency help; get in shade; cool skin with water.

 

Sunblock vs. Vitamin D

A RECENT STUDY reports that many runners are low on  vitamin D, a  nutrient our bodies make by absorbing sunlight. Another  study reports  that marathoners show an increased risk for skin cancer.  So how should  we approach sun protection? Experts say wear sunscreen  (SPF 30 or  higher) while running. If you aren’t prone to sunburn, get 10  minutes  of midday sun exposure three times a week. If you are, take a   multivitamin. “Most daily multivitamins contain 200 to 400 IU of vitamin   D,” says dermatologist Barbara A. Gilchrest, M.D. “That’s more than   enough for a healthy runner who inevitably gets some sun. Even with a   layer of SPF sunscreen, 20 percent of the sun’s UVB rays will enter the   skin and produce the maximum daily amount of vitamin D your body  needs.”

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