Your feet are not the only part of the body that takes the heat during the summer exercise workouts. Preventing common heat-related ailments, especially during running is a key to tolerating the heat and remaining safe. Photo Contributed

Summer Running Tips

MADISON- There are a smorgasbord of events surrounding the sport of running this summer with Fleet Feet Sports handling a good portion of what’s going on with “Summer Speed & Hills” training, “Ultra Training” and “Triathlon 201” for those wishing to tangle with a long-distance challenge. All these along with your typical run for good health must factor in the summer heat.

Heat and humidity, which are just normal aspects of summer in the south, factor into how one should workout. You should always optimize your hot-weather workouts, especially while running. Stay away from the heat of the day and always…always drink water.

“One of the biggest tips we supply to runners is to hydrate before, during and after any type of exercise, especially running this time of year,” said Suzanne Swift, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Madison and Huntsville. “If you’re planning to exercise longer than 45 minutes outside you will need some sort of electrolyte replacement.”

Most physicians and running experts urge everyone to try and run during the coolest part of the day. Check the weather forecast and make your plans accordingly as during the summer months morning is the coolest part of the day and going on a good run that time of day can be very rewarding. It’s best to drink 20 ounces of water, stretch and then hit the road with your workout.

On really hot days like there are in the Tennessee Valley it’s best to adjust your workouts to effort versus pace. Many times, you can tell your heartrate is running high causing you to not want to push the pace. On an individual basis, everyone should know how your body reacts to the stress of summer heat. Even golfers look out for the summer heat. When starting a workout give your body time to adjust to the surrounding conditions as many times it will take two weeks for your body to kick into its correct gear.

A must for every person exercising in the heat: make hydration a priority.

This means you can’t just think about hydration when you get thirsty. Be prepared. Bring a water bottle with you as runners can carry a specially made bottles that are easy to carry as the bottle is light and is comfortable.

Besides a timing issue that can dictate when you exercise, Swift brough up a good point. “Our local Greenways throughout Madison and Huntsville are nice and shaded and are great places to exercise. Besides, you can utilize those areas early or late in the day.”

One additional point for outdoor, summer exercise is to apply sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher. Along those same lines, wear a hat or visor. Actually, it’s best to wear as little apparel as possible and that’s light in color. Microfiber polyesters and cotton blends are best choices according to experts.

Physicians can’t stress enough to know the signs of heat related illnesses such as heat cramps, fainting, exhaustion, and stroke. Body temperatures can rise during exercising while being in the local heat. If the core body temperature rises to over 100-degrees, that’s the time to take action for heat prevention.

A runner may have lungs of a champion and the legs of an Olympian, but if precautions are not taken properly, all those great assets one may have cannot help you escape from heat related injuries.


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