Staying Safe in the Heat

Last year, our very own Coach Rachel wrote a piece for our blog about how runners can properly handle the heat. We wanted to reblog this piece because we all know how hot NYC has been for the past few days. Whether you're putting in significant miles in training for your next race or are just going out for a casual run or walk, follow these tips to stay safe and cool!

What should you wear? Sunscreen! Lots of it! Especially on your face.  Be sure to get the sweat resistant kind and apply it at least 20 minutes before you go out. 

Other important items include: Sunglasses, a hat, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that is moisture wicking (not cotton!)

How should you prepare? Nutrition and hydration are always important when running, but they are even more important when you are dealing with the heat. The best thing to do is to stay hydrated ALL the time. Be proactive! There is no correct amount to take in each day, as that is very specific to each person. Your best guide is to monitor the color of your urine… Bet you didn’t see that coming! Your urine should be a pale straw color all the time.  If it gets too yellow, start drinking those fluids. 

If you all of a sudden decide to chug a ton of water (not beer) before you run, even as late as the night before a race or run, you may find yourself needing to pee more often. Whereas, by maintaining a proper hydration level, you should not see a dramatic change in your number of trips to the bathroom. 

When should you run? Run early or run late to avoid the hottest part of the day. But, if it is dark out, run with a friend.

How can you stay hydrated on the run? If you are able to maintain your hydration, you will often not even need to drink during a shorter run, just be sure to drink after your workout.

For longer runs, have a hydration plan! You can do this by bringing money to buy a drink at the bodega, know ahead of time where water fountains are on your route, or simply carry your water in your hand, on your waist, or in a backpack.

Do you know what electrolytes are?  Electrolytes are the smallest of chemicals that enable the cells in your body to function, which allow your body to work. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and others generate electricity, contract muscles, and move water and fluids within your body.

If you are doing a long run, you may end up needing more than just water to prevent your electrolytes from getting out of whack… yes, that is a technical term.  If you experience things like cramping, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, or dark urine, you may need additional nutrients to get your body functioning properly again.  Consider drinking some coconut water, eating a banana or a few pretzels, or adding something fancier like a Nuun (or other electrolyte tablet) to your water bottle.  

Bottom line? All that being said, running in this heat is no joke.  Sometimes you may just need to skip your run on a really hot day and adjust your weekly training schedule.  Or you could swap your outdoor run for some other type of exercise like going to the gym, the pool, walking, or even jumping on your bike.  Now go to the bathroom and check your pee!

-Rachel