[caption id="attachment_1652" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Photo courtesy of runnersconnect.net"][/caption]
Both Ashley and I are from the South so we are all too familiar with the summer temps and the humidity that summer can bring. While running in the summer can be just the breath of fresh you need, it can also be dangerous, but with a few tips and a little preparation you can stay safe and cool this summer.
Properly Stay Hydrated
I still abide by the eight, 8 oz glasses a day rule. But to make sure you're staying hydrated during your runs, weigh yourself naked before a run outside and afterwards. Every pound lost during the run equals 16 ounces of water. So, if you lose two pounds, you need to replenish 32 ounces (4 cups) of water. Knowing on average how much water your body loses is a great way to prevent drinking too much and too little water.
For a more accurate calculation of the amount of water you should drink on a daily basis, use this hydration calculator.
Invest in a hydration belt
I put off using a hydration belt for a long time. One, because I thought I'd look like a dork and two, because who wants to tote extra luggage on a run. Let's face it, running is hard enough. That all changed when I experienced Virginia Beach last summer. I headed to the nearest sporting goods store and bought myself a Nathan hydration belt. It has been a complete Godsend, especially for someone like me who, it seems, is perpetually dehydrated. Check out Ashley's post on different hydration belts for the minimalist runner.
Remember when I said I'm perpetually dehydrated? One of the worst parts about running the 2011 Georgia Half Marathon this year were the cramps I got circa mile 9. Runners and triathletes are especially vulnerable to dehydration and imbalanced electrolyte levels. Hyponatremia, or a low level of sodium in the blood, can occur if one consumes too much water and not enough electrolytes. Why are electrolytes important? Electrolytes are lost through sweat during intense exercise and/or high temperatures. When electrolytes are depleted from your body, you become tired, cramp easily, and are at risk for dehydration. Replacing electrolytes is essential to keep your body hydrated, to enhance performance, and to help prevent muscle cramps. We've heard great things about elete add-in which are liquid electrolytes in concentrate form that can easily be added to water or any beverage. Unlike sports drinks, elete doesn't contain sugars, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives (which can cause bloating and/or stomach cramps).
According to the American Cancer Society, “Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for less than 5% of skin cancer cases. But it causes most skin cancer deaths” and “overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 1 in 50 for whites, 1 in 1,000 for blacks, 1 in 200 for Hispanics.” Unfortunately, blacks are usually diagnosed later than whites. Even world-renowned reggae artist, Bob Marley, died from an aggressive and deadly form of the disease. Read more in our post "Dispel the myth: Black People Do Sunburn" about choosing a sunscreen that's right for you.
Run early (or late): The early bird catches the worm... and stays cool. Try to get your run in before the sun comes up or after the sun goes down. Either way, get your run in during the coolest parts of the day.
Invest in cool gear: Yes, the gear does matter. Invest in a few pieces that help to keep you cool? We love the Puma Women's Singlet with the Nike Women's Fabric Mix Short.
Glide your body with BodyGlide: Chafing. One of the scariest words in a runner's vocabulary. Chafing is caused by repeated motion -- specifically, skin rubbing against loose fabric or other skin. Chafing most often occurs around the bra line (women), nipples (men), inner thighs, and under the arms. Moisture, either from sweat or rain, can worsen chafing. I'm all to familiar with chafing (will explain in another post) and I can't say enough how much BodyGlide has been my saving grace. In the words of BodyGlide, it "Stops Trouble Before it Starts" and boy is that important. "BODYGLIDE® Anti-Chafe balm is the recognized leader for comfort. It helps prevent and relieve hot spots on feet, and chafed, chapped and cracked skin from head to toe; good during & after activity. It penetrates the skin and creates an invisible, comfortable barrier against friction and moisture - without clogging pores or trapping perspiration; feels ‘dry’ to the touch."
So, don't let the heat deter you from running. Just be smart about when you run and preparing for your run. Taking the temperature into consideration can determine if you enjoy or hate running this summer.