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Tips: Hot-Weather Running and Minimizing Heat Effects
Hyperthermia (heat stroke, heat exhaustion, muscle cramps) can be deadly. A runner can collapse in less than five minutes after the onset of symptoms.The symptoms are:
dry skin – no sweating
nausea or cramps
goose bumps on chest and arms
incoherent speech and thoughts
Hyperthermia can affect any runner, at any fitness level, during a race or hard workout. It’s not only the unconditioned, unacclimated runner who may be affected. Hyperthermia can occur on days when you might not expect it. The rapid rise in body temperature occurs when the body’s natural cooling mechanism, evaporation, stops because the body has lost too much of its fluids through sweating.
Research has shown that the rate of body fluid loss is not substantially changed from temperatures above 70°. A temperature of 60° and high relative humidity can be just as dangerous as 90° and low humidity.
During the hot weather season, keep high contents of magnesium and potassium in your body. These minerals exist naturally in foods such as fresh green vegetables; raw, unmilled wheat germ; figs; apples; bananas; dried fruits; oranges; and oil-rich seeds and nuts, especially almonds.
Wear cool clothes. Loose-fitting cotton, singlets and T-shirts are best. Light colors, especially white, are cooler than dark colors.
Remain cool before the race. It is probably preferable to start with a slightly depressed temperature.
Before the race, drink plenty of fluids. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests 13–17 fluid ounces 10 to 15 minutes before competition.
Drink plenty of fluids during the race and afterwards. Drink frequently during the race. Don’t hesitate to splash water on your body. This aids evaporation and cooling of the body. Try to keep your shoes dry; soggy shoes can lead to blisters.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Do not overexert yourself.
SOURCE: This information is adapted from guidelines provided as a public service by the Road Runners Club of America.