Follow these tips for staying safe while running in hot and humid conditions. If you have any respiratory issues, such as asthma, consider running on a treadmill or indoor track. Cross training is an option, as long as you can raise your heart rate to a level near your running heart rate: row, spin, bike trainer, stairs, or elliptical trainer.
The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) urges all runners to understand the importance of following hot weather running tips. Running in high temperatures can be dangerous!
• Avoid dehydration!
You can lose 6 to 12 ounces of fluid for every 20 minutes running. Therefore, hydrate prior to running. RRCA recommends 10 to 15 ounces of fluid 10 to 15 minutes prior to running and fluids every 20 to 30 minutes during your run. Indications that you are dehydrated are persistently elevated pulse after finishing your run and dark yellow to brown urine. Thirst is not an adequate indicator of dehydration. Practice fluid consumption during your training runs.
• Avoid running outdoors if the heat is above 98.6 degrees and/or the humidity is above 70-80%.
While running, the body temperature is regulated by the evaporation of sweat off the skin. If the humidity in the air is so high that it prevents evaporation, you can quickly overheat. Check the local weather and humidity before heading out. If necessary, dowse your head with water.
• Understand the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
If you feel dizzy, nauseated, have the chills, or cease to sweat, STOP RUNNING. Find shade, put ice or a cold towel on your body, and drink water or a fluid replacement drink. If you do not feel better, seek help.
• Heat stroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature and the body temperature rises up to 104 degrees. Symptoms of heat stroke include mental changes (delirium, confusion, unconsciousness), fatigue, muscle aches, headaches. The skin is red and hot but dry as sweating ceases. This is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1.
• Heat exhaustion is not as serious as heat stroke. There are two types of heat exhaustion: 1) water depletion with signs of excessive thirst, weakness, headache, and even unconsciousness and 2) salt depletion with signs of nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, and dizziness. Heat exhaustion is accompanied by pale skin and profuse sweating.
• Run in the shade whenever possible and avoid direct sunlight and asphalt roads and trails.
• Always apply sunscreen and reapply when necessary.
• Wear sunglasses that filter out UVA and UVB rays. Wearing a hat or visor can be protective for your skin and eyes. Wear moisture-wicking, SPF, and light-colored breathable clothing. Do not wear long sleeves, long pants, or sweatsuits on hot days.
• Run early in the morning or in the evening,
• Plan your route so you can refill your water bottle or find drinking fountains.
• If you have heart or respiratory issues or other health conditions, consult your healthcare provider about the safety of running in the heat. In some cases, it may be best to run indoors.
• Always tell someone where you are running and how long you expect to be out. Carry identification.
RRCA was used a source for these guidelines.