Don't let heat and humidity throw your running schedule off track. With a few precautions, you can safely stay on your feet in high temperatures.
Step 1: Know the heat index Check the heat index, which is how hot it feels when the temperature and the humidity are combined. According to the National Weather Service, exercising in a heat index over 89 degrees Fahrenheit puts you at risk for heat-related health problems like sunstroke.
Step 2: Hydrate Drink 16 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before running; drink another 12 to 16 ounces 15 minutes before you begin; and drink about 5 ounces of water every 10 to 15 minutes during your run. If you plan to run more than 60 minutes, substitute a sports drink that contains electrolytes and 6 to 8 percent carbohydrate concentration for the water.
TIP: By the time you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated.
Step 3: Protect yourself from the sun Slather on waterproof sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, wear a hat with a broad bill, and put on sunglasses. Caps with a "sun skirt" around the back offer additional protection for your ears, back of head, and neck.
Step 4: Wear moisture-wicking fabrics Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing made of moisture-wicking fabrics. Dark colors absorb more heat and cotton retains moisture.
Step 5: Get wet Consider dousing yourself with cold water right before your run so you don't heat up as fast. Take a shower; jump in the pool; or just dump a pitcher of cold water over your head.
Step 6: Run with the wind Begin your run with the wind at your back so you'll have a nice breeze in your face on the way back.
Step 7: Take it slow Don't go for any records; keep your first couple of miles below your usual pace.
Step 8: Don't ignore warning signs If you stop sweating and begin to feel dizzy or nauseous, stop running, get in the shade, drink some water, and get medical attention. Those are symptoms of heatstroke.
TIP: Heat cramps, which usually strike runners in the legs, are the first sign that you're overheating. So if you experience one, stay on the safe side and terminate your run.
Step 9: Bottoms up! Drink another 16 to 20 ounces of water or a sports drink after you finish your run.
FACT: The optimum temperature to run a marathon in is 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
You Will Need
The heat index
A sports drink with electrolytes
Waterproof sunscreen with SPF 30
Light-colored clothes made of moisture-wicking fabrics