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Pay attention to warning signs while running in hot temperatures – San Marcos Daily Record

Jul 18th, 2020

This past week has been a rough one for runners. With temperatures over 100 degrees, the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are an ever-present danger. Runners that run every day seem to adapt to rising temperatures better than someone just starting out. This does not mean that these daily runners are immune from heat problems. When a runner goes for a run on a hot day, experienced or not, they are in danger of heat exhaustion.

There are things a runner can do to minimize the danger when running on a hot day. It means changing your normal pattern to fit a run that is safer and less of a danger for those heat problems. Shorter distance, slower pace and plenty of hydration are better alternatives than coming down with heat exhaustion. There is information regarding safety in running in hot temperatures but there are still a few runners that do not follow safe running procedures.

One problem that I see on a regular basis for male runners is the practice of running without a shirt thinking that it will be cooler. What happens is that after a few minutes the runner starts to sweat. The layer of moisture on the upper body creates a barrier on the skin and acts as an insulation against heat loss. The better option is a loose fitting high-tech shirt that will wick away the sweat and create a larger surface area for evaporation. The shirt will probably be soaked with sweat but it still has a larger surface area for evaporation and the weave of fabric allows air to pass through it for cooling purposes. The same thing applies to women runners that think running in a halter top will be cooler. The nice shirt you received at your last race will be a better option.

Wearing a cap is also helpful in keeping the sun off the head. Some runners put an ice bag inside the cap to keep cool. Wearing a damp bandana loosely around the neck is another option some runners try. Both will help wick away the sweat and create a larger area for the process of evaporation. Staying hydrated is a must for runners during hot weather. Cooler water (refrigerator temperature) is best for hydration purposes as it leaves the stomach quicker. Runners are advised to drink on a regular basis and not wait until they are thirsty. Waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to correct a problem with heat.

I have seen too many runners overcome with heat problems and the fallacy that experienced runners are better prepared. I found one runner laying in a ditch after a race one summer and his partner said, He will be okay. He is an experienced runner. I told him, Your experienced runner is not okay, otherwise he would not be laying down in a ditch full of fire ants. Some people wanted to put a blanket over the top of him. I got them to put the blanket under him to protect him from the ants and got water, cool wet towels to cover him, and called for the EMTs.

One problem in dealing with runners overcome with heat is that they often do not realize how serious their condition is. Many think they can still keep running, or rest a minute, and then finish the race. One runner turned a corner too quickly and bounced off the side of a store and fell on the sidewalk. He said he could finish the race. I told him his race was finished and sent for the EMTs again.

One of the most dangerous practices running in hot temperatures, or even warm days, is the belief that wearing a long sleeved rubberized shirt will cause them to sweat off that weight. I finished a run one day and was changing clothes in the locker room when another runner came in wearing a rubberized top. He proceeded to open up the cuff on his sleeve and water poured out from all the sweat he had lost. He thought he was losing a lot of weight. The weight loss was a very short lived as when he drank some water he would gain it all back. His run was probably very short as it is very difficult to run when your core temperature goes up. The number of calories burned from exercise was less and his weight loss was simply water loss. He would have been better to run with cooler clothing, run farther, and burn more calories than resorting to water loss and the dangers of heat problems.

It helps to recognize the warning signs of heat exhaustion loss of concentration, tingling sensation on the scalp, stop sweating and a very drastic slowing of pace. Stop, cool off, and hydrate.

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Pay attention to warning signs while running in hot temperatures - San Marcos Daily Record

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