After most of the nations has come out of a dismal winter season and didn’t really have the chance to experience much of a spring-time. Summer is now in full swing and while in some parts of the country its been pretty nice. The weather has made its presence known. The east coast has been experiencing a more than average rain fall. The west coast is getting its fair share of dry gust winds with high temps. in the 90’s to 100+ degrees. While the south around the Texas panhandle has been seeing more thermometers climbing over the 100-degree mark then they would like.
The point I’m trying to make here is that while we embrace the summer months and look forward to running without all those layers of extra clothing there are still some things we need to be aware of as we get into our running shorts and tops and lace up our running shoes.
Here are the heat-related injuries that you need to be wary of while running in high temps.
Heat cramps consist of involuntary muscle contractions during hard exercise in hot weather. Dehydration and electrolyte loss are factors in causing heat cramps. One item that I always strap on is my Camelbak Octane XCT Hydration Pack . This easy to wear fluid pack provides an ample supply of water to ward off being dehydrated. +For runners, the calves are the most common location for heat-related cramping. If this happens to you out on a run, slow to a walk and get some fluid. Cramping should subside on its own, but a gentle range of motion stretching can speed up dissipation. One thing to keep in mind is that with all the fluid your expending in the form of sweat, your also losing key nutrients as well. It’s a good idea if you’re going out on a long training run to add some electrolyte tablets to your water reservoir. A brand that I have found to work well for me is the Nuun Active Mixed Electrolyte Tablets These tablets contains fruity flavors that are loaded with electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals to help me stay properly hydrated throughout my runs, especially when that summer sun starts heating up the day!
Heat exhaustion is generally the next step up after heat cramps. Other symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and a rapid heartbeat. If this happens to you while running, stop immediately and seek assistance in cooling down, sit in front of a fan, place bags of ice on your body and drink plenty of water. If such measures do not provide you with relief within 15 minutes, seek medical attention.
Heat stroke is the most severe of all heat-related injuries and should be taken very seriously. Generally, to reach the point of heat stroke, a runner will have first progressed through symptoms of heat cramping and heat exhaustion. Heat stroke is a prime example of why it is not a good idea to just ‘tough it out’ on a run if you’re really not feeling good.
Medically, heat stroke is defined as the point at which one’s core temperature has reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Other symptoms include a lack of sweating (despite the heat), vomiting, disorientation, seizures, and unconsciousness. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, don’t wait, or if you suspect a fellow runner might be suffering from heat stroke, Call 911!
Heat rash is characterized by a prickly or stinging sensation on the skin, generally on areas on which there was clothing. Heat rash occurs in humid conditions when one sweats excessively, causing the sweat glands to become clogged, spreading the sweat into the surrounding tissue. This tissue becomes irritated, causing red splotches to appear on the surface of the afflicted area. If heat rash occurs, the best course of action is to take a shower and air dry. Further friction or moisturizers are more likely to do harm than good. If the condition persists for more then 3 days, contact your physician.
Sweat plus friction equals blisters. The key to avoiding blisters is properly fitting shoes. Generally speaking, your running shoes should be one size larger than your regular shoes. Make sure to wear sweat-wicking socks and break in shoes before you wear them on long runs. Go for a brand of shoe that has made a name for themselves in the running game. One that meets these criteria is the Altra Brand . They are great shoes that provide ample support where you need it, a comfortable box provides room for your toes, while not being too large to cause a chaffing issue.
Prevent a burn from occurring in the first place by wearing sunscreen and sunglasses when you head out the door. If you’re taking medication, check and see if it lists sun sensitivity as a side-effect and take precautions accordingly. For runners who part their hair, remember to apply sunscreen there, or wear a hat. If you do get burnt, apply aloe to soothe the burn. If your burn itches, try taking a cool bath with two cups of vinegar added to it, to relieve the itch. For burns so bad that it hurts to sleep, sprinkle cornstarch on your sheets to create a friction-preventing barrier between your skin and the fabric
So, these may be obvious summertime heat-related issues to be aware of, but the fact is, most of us runners tend to think that we are above having any common heat-related illnesses or maladies happen to us. And this is where most of us that run into them (Get the Pun Here), find that these heat obstacles can knock us right where we sit down.
Don’t put off being prepared for those running sweat sessions, just make sure you’re aware of what to do when they happen to you…… And they will!