I have never posted this topic so early in the year, but I thought the timing was good. I want to remind you all about the seriousness of running in the heat. It is critical to prepare and take the right precautions one hot days. Running in the heat without the proper preparation and hydration does not make you tough. . . it makes you stupid.
Three years ago Runner's World had a sad but interesting article about running in the heat. It was about Kelly Watt, a young runner about to attend William & Mary. He was running alone on a familiar route on. He did not show up for dinner that night. The police called his parents that evening with bad news that he had been found unconscious from a heat stroke. After what appeared to be three days of recovery in the hospital, Kelly's body finally shut down. Don't let this be you.
Please review these tips and remind others as well:
- Stay hydrated! Before, during, and after your runs and rides. A cup of water 10 minutes before exercise is not enough on a hot day.
- When possible don't run alone.
- Run early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
- Always let someone know when your are going out. Tell them your general route, and when you should be back. If your family is not home. Tell a neighbor, email a friend, or post on Facebook that you are going out. If something bad happens, you want someone to know where you were.
- Take an ID and consider carrying a cell phone. (I strongly recommend a RoadID)
- Pick shady routes. Running down West Mount for 10 miles is probably a bad choice on a hot day.
- Use your technical clothing. Tech fabrics will pull moisture off the body helping to keep you cool. A white running hat will also shade your face and protect your head.
- Hydrate heavily after a run.
- Last but most important. . . listen to your body. It is sometimes smarter than your head.
Finally, if you are a founding member of the RMEC, or if you have been running all your life. . . don't be cocky. Heat affects us all. Kelly Watt was a scholarship runner, and more talented than anyone in our group. You may be better equipped to handle the heat than a new runner, but you are not immune to it. Be safe.