by Samantha Simmons
Many of us have experienced the dreaded heat exhaustion, whether from literally running ourselves thin, dehydration, or any other handful of reasons.
In May, at the Brooklyn Half Marathon, a runner died and 15 were hospitalized after the race went off with high temperatures and humidity. Runners were not acclimated to this type of heat yet, which ultimately took a turn for the worse.
So, remember that when running on hot, humid summer days, hydration is key. Before, during, and after. It is important to not forget about the during part. You might be going out for just a quick half an hour jaunt, but maybe think about taking a small handheld bottle on those really hot days. Dehydration can come on quickly, especially in the heat. Luckily or unfortunately, in Upstate NY, you are never too far away from a Stewarts or Cumberland Farms to grab something that quenches your thirst. If you’re looking for a supplement to your plain water, try enhancers like Nuun, Tailwind, or Maurten. The purpose of these products is to help you replace the electrolytes you lose in your sweat.
Next the importance of wearing sunscreen cannot be overlooked. Running with a sunburn is almost as bad as chafing. When looking for sunscreen, try and find one that is sweat proof to maintain protection.
Try to find shady places for summer highlights. From the Catskills to the Adirondacks and everywhere in between, there are plenty of shady spots to run to relieve you from what might be your usual way-too-sunny for hot days route. There are many trails covered by tree canopies and dirt floors that offer a drastic temperature difference from that of pavement covered routes. A great place to find new trails, dirt or not, is AllTrails. Here you can type in cities, parks, or trail names to get more information about the trail, see pictures, and look at other users' reviews of the trails. This is especially helpful to know what the conditions of the trails are. There are usually up to date reviews, and the app will even track the route for you.
Dressing appropriately will make your outing easier and more enjoyable. In NY it can be hard when it is 60 degrees one day and 90 the next, but it is important to not be overdressed in the summer heat. Try to wear light colors and a hat. Hats may seem a bit counterintuitive, adding more layers to your body, but they offer relief from direct sunlight hitting your head.
Finally, above all, be safe. Let someone know where and when you’ll be running and let them know when you have returned, especially for longer efforts. In the heat, people are a little more on edge and more health problems come to the forefront like asthma. It is important to keep someone informed so that if something goes wrong, they’ll know to suspect that something isn’t right. This is probably a good rule of thumb in general, but even better in the summer months.
Following these tips, you will be ready to meet the heat and enjoy your running!
Samantha Simmons is a recent graduate of SUNY Albany with a major in writing. In addition to contributing monthly to the Pace Setter, she is an intern at the Greenwich Journal & Salem Press. In her spare time, she likes to run, hike, boat, and read.