Thursday, July 18, 2013

running like a chinchilla in the heat

chinchillas are damn cute. 

but not the point of this post. 

yesterday, i was this little furry guy trying to run three miles in the nasty heat wave we've got up in the midwest. in general, running in temperatures like these (90+) is not safe. and you really need to be careful and take extra precaution if you're going to run outdoors. 

yesterday i rolled out my "running in the heat risk mitigation plan" (doesn't that sound so fancy and official?). here are my tips for running in hot temperatures:

  • hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. i had more than my daily intake of water throughout the day. i did a combo of plain water and water + electrolytes. all. day. long. a good rule of thumb for me is to drink until the pee is clear. 
  • know how much water you will lose on your run and account for it. i'll share the equation for this below, but i calculated how much water i would lose during the run and i made sure i drank that amount of water about 15 minutes before i ventured out.
  • dress for cooling success. light colored clothes, a sweatband or visor (hats are nice, but you want the top of your head open so heat can escape), shorts, sunscreen, sunglasses... and try and make sure whatever you wear is sweat wicking. cotton would be a very, very bad idea!
  • have a safety buddy. when its really warm out, my boyfriend brandon will go with me on his bike. he packs water and water + electrolytes in a back pack in case i need hydration along the way. in the scariest sense, he's there to ensure i have help if something goes wrong, but hopefully all my precautions will make sure that doesn't happen!
  • bring water/hydration. if you don't have a safety buddy, make sure you bring your own hydration. drink more than you think you need. when you start to feel thirsty, you're too late!
  • stay in the shade. try and find a route that has shade and stick to it as much as you can. even the shadier parts of a sunny run will provide some relief and protection.
  • go in the early morning or late evening. these are typically times when it is coolest and the sunlight is least direct. 
  • monitor your heart rate. i'm not sure if this is really something you should do, but i feel better about monitoring how my body is doing when i watch what my heart rate is doing during the run. if it jumps too high too quickly, stays too high (or out of an abnormal range for me) then i know i either need to pull back or end the workout.

this was my wednesday evening run. 

so, how do you know how much water you will lose on your run, so you know how much to replenish? it's easy to figure out: 

1) weigh yourself naked right before your run
2) go for a run (try your hardest not to use the bathroom before you weigh in again)
3) finish run, weigh yourself naked
4) use this equation:  first weigh in - second weigh in = pounds lost during workout. 1 pound = 16 ounces of liquid. so for every pound you lose that is equal to 16 ounces of water.

if you lose a pound, you need 16 ounces of water. 2 pounds, 32 ounces, etc. you should do this consistently for a few runs (or workouts) of the same duration. that way you can get a baseline average of how much water weight you're losing. if you find out that you lose about 1.5 pounds for every half hour workout, you need to be replenishing every half hour with 24 ounces of liquid.

 i am happy with how my run went considering the heat factor!
being prepared can help a ton!

when all is said and done, i'm happy with how my heat wave run went this week. it could have been a lot slower, but i think i was able to maintain a solid pace because of all the prep work i put in that day! :)

how do you stay cool in the hot temps? do you even go out and run? do you think chinchillas are as cute as i do??


  1. Never thought about the weighing! I should do that at CF! I think I stay plenty hydrated, but the body wants what it wants.. I try to get in a gallon during the day before my workout, and this week it's been like another 64oz while at the gym. Ughh.. I miss spring.. you know, that week we had comfortable weather. lol.

  2. I went out yesterday and you know my issues with migraines and electrolytes. I went out at 3pm, I should have not gone out. I spent the night with heat exhaustion, chills, vomitting, couldn't even drink water, it hurt. it was bad bad bad. I will not be doing that again. It was near 100 when I finished, I had no shade, no protection. Big huge mistake. I'm glad you're better prepared than I am!!!! And yes, I also love chinchillas ;)

  3. Amy @ Long Drive JourneyJuly 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Thanks for the tip for calculating how much water you lose. I'll have to try that. I feel like I sweat buckets even when it's just in the 80's so I can't imagine what this weather would do. I saw a girl yesterday running with a water bottle in each hand. The heat's supposed to break here in the NE on Saturday. When's yours supposed to get any better? Soon, I hope!

  4. Amy @ Long Drive JourneyJuly 18, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    That is so scary! I'm glad you are okay now!! This just goes to show that heat exhaustion is real and we have to be really careful in temps this hot. Even runners aren't superhuman.

  5. You should do it for CF! I'm guessing you're losing a lot of water, although I admit I don't know much about CF and intensity :/ YES! I miss spring but I LOVE fall. It's my favorite running weather!

  6. OMG! SUSAN!!! I'm so glad you're okay! That is so scary! I hope you're drinking lots today, too.

  7. I think ours is supposed to break tonight at 8pm, but how can you ever trust the weather people? I also sweat buckets - I didn't sweat as much as I thought I would yesterday, which is why I think measuring yourself on multiple runs is important to find an average.

  8. My body does not like the extreme heat at all. When it is crazy hot and humid I get migraines just by looking outside it seems. I was outside fixing Bo's fence yesterday for an hour and got a migraine. SO, I tend to skip running when it is obscenely hot, like it has been this past week. We are supposed to get a possible storm tonight, then tomorrow it is (haha) ONLY going to be 86*.

  9. Haha yes, the heat wave is going to break and it will *only* be 86!! I'm similar to you, I do NOT do well in heat. I would much rather running in the cold!! Hope you're staying hydrated and cool :)


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