Tag Archives: hydration

Danger: Heat Zone

5 Jul

I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July! I didn’t race, but I did a sweaty speed workout on the track in the morning before the BBQing began. To those who did race, I hope you stayed cool, ran fast, and enjoyed the festivities.

trackredwhiteblue wm

Hey, look! Red, white, and blue for Independence Day!

As I was at EMS the other day to grab a couple of things, the July issue of Women’s Running caught my eye. Without even glancing at this month’s features, I bought it. When I got home and started checking it out, it was clear that the universe put it in my path for a reason. The whole issue was dedicated to running in the heat.

julywomensrunningConsidering my recent struggles with this Summer’s scorching heat and tropical-esque humidity, I obviously needed to read this. In reading through an interview with a physiologist about the difficulties of running in the heat and potential heat-related illnesses, this smacked me right over the head:

heatdangerOh, hello. I’m pretty sure that what I was experiencing on that miserable long run was a mild case of heat exhaustion rather than an issue with hydration. I don’t know why this didn’t cross my mind previously, because I know about heat exhaustion. Talk about a real “duh” moment. I guess sometimes you just really need a big reminder.

Arm yourself with information. Here’s First-Aid for heat exhaustion.

Anyway, now that this article has scared me in all the right ways, I’m making sure to be extra careful about running in this heat. Some things that stood out to me so far in this month’s issue:

  • Temperatures above 80 degrees (F) have a negative impact on performance. Other factors, including personal, will determine risk for heat illness.
  • Your sweating rate plays a big factor in how prone you might be to heat illness (I’m a sweaty sweater).
  • Heat stroke is a medical emergency and could be fatal if untreated.

Ways to prevent heat-related illnesses and stay cool:

  1. Let go of your expectations for pace and distance. Running in the heat is very tough and you should train based on how your body feels. Focus on effort rather than pace.
  2. Run before sunrise or late in the evening when the temperatures are cooler and the sun isn’t right on you.
  3. Wear as little clothing as possible! Or keep it loose. Wear a visor, sunglasses, sunscreen.
  4. Bring water or electrolyte drinks or set up a “cooling station” on your route with plenty of water, ice, fuel, towel.
  5. Take breaks.
  6. Dump water on yourself throughout the run or wear a bandanna around your neck with ice cubes in it.
  7. Run indoors with the AC up.
  8. Take up a hot yoga class to acclimate to the heat (Schedule it two days before or after your run).
  9. Bring your cell phone, wear your Road ID, run with a friend, and/or tell someone where you’re going.
  10. Be flexible. Check the weather and plan your runs for the week, but don’t force it if it’s too hot. It’s better to skip a run than hurt yourself.

Running in the heat is serious business, so be safe! Prevention is key, so if you start to feel any dizziness, lightheadedness, cramps, or nausea, stop.

On that note, I’m planning to get up before sunrise on a Saturday (tomorrow) to try and get a 10-11 mile run in before the earth catches on fire. I’m a little nervous about next weekend’s Boilermaker 15K, so getting through this run is going to be important in determining my race strategy.

Run happy and run safe!



It happened again and retail therapy

28 Jun

Late this morning, I met a friend from the Albany Running Exchange for a 10 mile run. (He couldn’t meet before 10 AM). I was a little nervous after how my last long run went, but the weather wasn’t quite as brutal today so I was optimistic.

I prepared for my run as usual with fuel and hydration, sipping nuun occasionally while on the run. Starting out, I felt great and my friend and I chatted on at a comfortable pace. The sun stayed behind clouds for the most part and there was a breeze. At the halfway point, I still felt pretty good. It wasn’t until mile 7 that I started to struggle a little bit. At mile 8.5, I had to stop and walk for a little while. I was able to jog the last mile, but I felt pretty crummy when we stopped. Of course, my running buddy didn’t seem to be affected at all.

I’m feeling pretty down about this, you guys. I will be certain to make my next long run as early in the morning as possible, no matter what. If the next one goes wrong still… OK, I don’t want to think about that.

I started to feel better after lunch and then I did a little shopping. Retail therapy cures all, right? I finally bought an exercise ball after talking about how much I should get one for like…2 years.

exerciseballThis is a great addition to our growing exercise equipment collection because last week I bought Mark his very own yoga mat for Just Because Day. It even has a manly tribal symbol on it! Now he doesn’t have to steal mine to do ab work.

yogamatsMy favorite purchase today was this Franco Sarto cross-body bag. I’ve been looking for a bag like this for traveling and this was a pretty good steal at $24.99.


I’ll be testing it out this weekend because we are off on another adventure! See everyone on Monday!

The zoo and a run for two

25 Jun

On Saturday we headed out bright and early for a day trip to the Bronx Zoo with our friends and their little girl. None of us had been there before and we were all just as excited as the 3 year old!

Bronx Zoo 1 rbbI was especially excited to see the giraffes. Maybe I have an affinity for all things tall?

giraffeIt’s hard to tell, but there are baboons in this photo, along with the Nubian ibex. We ate lunch next to these guys.

ibexThere were so many things to see. We were there the whole day and we only got to see about half of the exhibits and animals!

zooanimalsIt’s hard to pick a favorite, but I did really enjoy the butterfly garden and I was pretty amazed by the tigers. It was truly a fun day and I’m so glad we took the trip!


Mark and I both had our long runs planned for Sunday morning, so we made sure to hydrate, ice, compress, and get some rest after all that walking! When the morning came, we slowly got ourselves out of bed, packed a cooler with runfreshments, strapped the bikes to the car, and went to the nearby bike trail.

First, I biked while Mark ran 3.5 miles. Since it was a pretty casual ride, this loosened my tired legs up. After a little stretching, fueling, and trespassing borrowing a construction site porta-potty, Mark hopped on the bike while I ran 9 miles.

runbikeloveBy the time it was my turn, it was after 10:30 AM and the sun was getting high and hot. I started out feeling pretty good and keeping a comfortable sub-9:00 pace. After the midpoint, I started to struggle. Despite sipping on nuun and water, downing a Gu gel, and pouring water on my head, the heat and humidity really got to me. I didn’t feel like I was in some physical shut down mode – just very hot and sweaty, so I kept going at a much slower pace and just took it easy.

hotrunI didn’t start to feel absolutely miserable until after I finished those 9 miles. The PowerICE electrolyte freeze pop was pure bliss (even though it was lime flavored) and I wish I had about a dozen more of them. I worked on cooling myself down and getting some recovery fuel into my body for a while.

My body felt really weak – I actually fell asleep on the 2 mile car ride home. As soon as we got home, I spent some time under the nice cold water from the hose. Then…I threw up. Twice. (You’re welcome for that.) After some breakfast,  more nuun, and a couple of short naps, I started to feel better.

I’m not a doctor, but I think I ended up drinking too much water and not getting enough electrolytes and fuel during the run in proportion to how much sweat I was losing. (If you’re a doctor or expert and want to help me figure out what went wrong, by all means please email me because the literature on dehydration vs. overhydration is really confusing.)

I’m usually pretty cautious about planning runs in the heat, but this run apparently had to teach me a few things:

  1. Start your run as early as possible to avoid getting the sun’s most direct rays and postpone it if you need to
  2. Don’t wear a black top, no matter how thin and moisture-wicking the fabric is
  3. Skip the compression socks if the heat and humidity are so high
  4. Don’t experiment with putting nuun in one bottle and water in the other on a long run in high heat and humidity
  5. Bring double energy gels on the run, just in case

And that is how my run started happy and ended miserably. If you’ve had a similar experience before, feel free to share!