The choice to run in extreme heat is no joke. Whenever you’re dealing with extreme weather, a simple run can turn into a life or death situation.
Although running in warm, sunny weather can be very enjoyable, it’s important to stay safe and aware. Fortunately, there are some critical tips that runners can use to protect themselves from extreme heat.
Be Aware of Your Body
A great tip for running in extreme heat is staying aware of your body. You should constantly be aware of how your body is functioning. There are a number of heat-related illnesses. Anyone who isn’t aware of the signs and symptoms of these illnesses could find themselves in a dire situation.
The human body cools itself through sweating, which works well with low humidity. However, when the humidity rises, the body’s core temperature rises because it cannot cool itself off as easily. It’s critical to watch for signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps.
A heat stoke involves vomiting, nausea, disorientation, dizziness, headache and rapid pulse. Nausea, fatigue, headache, weak or fast pulse, rapid breathing and heavy sweating are signs of heat exhaustion. Heat cramps involve muscle pain and spasms.
Use a Head Covering
Another tip is to cover your head. A simple head covering will protect the scalp from getting sunburned. It’s best to use a bandanna or lightweight hat, and the head covering should be breathable.
The head covering will help to lift sweat off of the body while serving as shade from the sun. Some runners soak a bandanna in water and wear it.
When running in extreme heat, runners should wear breathable, lightweight clothing. The amount of clothes a runner wears determines how hot he or she will get.
It should be obvious that more clothes result in a hotter core body temperature. By wearing lightweight, breathable clothing, runners can stay cooler and more refreshed. A mesh top is a great example of breathable clothing.
Optimal Running Surface
Most people don’t realize that there is a huge difference between running on concrete, dirt or grass. If possible, it’s best to run on grass or dirt.
If it’s extremely hot outside, concrete is one of the worst surfaces to run on. Asphalt and concrete retain heat and cause runners to quickly get tired and hot.
Many runners understand that they need to stay hydrated but don’t know exactly what optimal hydration consists of. If a runner receives too little hydration, he or she is at risk for heat cramps and dehydration.
There is also the issue of hydrating too much, which can dilute electrolytes and cause the development of hypothermia. Optimal hydration consists of an adequate intake of plain water and electrolytes. Runners should get about 70 to 90 grams of sugar every hour.
It’s not uncommon for runners to end up dehydrated and overheating. Extreme heat can cause this to happen rather quickly. A great tip that runners can use involves adjusting their pace.
While some runners might try to speed up to finish faster, it’s better to slow down and adjust the pace. This gives the body a chance to absorb electrolytes and water. A pace adjustment also gives the body a chance to cool its core temperature.
Medical Alert Bracelet
Even with all of these tips, some runners could find themselves in a very undesirable situation. A medical alert bracelet allows for the rapid identification of a person. It’s great for emergency personnel who need to identify someone and their illness when the person is unable to communicate.
Depending on the situation, this bracelet could save your life. These are seven critical tips for running in extreme heat, and they can be used by runners of any experience and age.
Dipali is an enthusiastic health blogger and the founder of lifecares.org. She likes to share her thoughts to make people inspired about their fitness. She is an experienced writer and author on highly authoritative health blogs.