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Beat the Heat

4 Jul


Happy 4th of July everybody, we hope you have a blast with your friends and family!  When you think of the 4th images of fireworks, cookouts and boats come to mind.  Another thing is the July heat….

Six pounds lost in one day. You have to give credit to good old southern heat. The sad thing is that I have no interest in losing weight, and even less in miscalculating my schedule and having to run in the afternoon during a nation-wide heat wave. But, if any of the rest of you are as addicted to running as I am, then even a 7:00 pm run that leaves you sopping wet, dehydrated, and plastered with bugs is better than no run at all.

If you do end up battling the sun and humidity, here are a few recommendations from a guy who has done most of his life’s training in the South. The first and only rule is: Always run in the morning if you know that it is going to be hot that day. Seeing the sunrise during a run does so much more for your morning than a cup of coffee.

However, if for some reason you miss the first light, there is still a way to ensure a nice run before the next cycle of the clock. Hydrate. Try to weigh yourself before and after your run every once in a while. The scales will put every weight loss program to shame and probably scare you into drinking enough water.

So, why is water important and how much is enough? Human life depends on blood flow and the nutrients that it brings our billions of cells. As we sweat and become dehydrated, our blood volume decreases. This results in less blood circulating and fewer necessities reaching our muscles. Thus, the heart has to compensate with a higher rate of pumping and hinders you from moving as quickly or as far as you can in cooler temperatures. This issue also means that we need to focus more on rehydration and recovery to avoid excessive fatigue over a period of days.

As a general rule of thumb, it is good to rehydrate by drinking the 1.5 times the weight of water that was lost on the run in your subsequent post-exercise hours. Simply replacing the same amount of water weight is insufficient because our bodies can’t absorb 100 percent of what it takes in. Our lack of precise timing in that process doesn’t usually help either. If that really irks you, or if you have a love of sugary drinks, then you probably also know that drinks like Gatorade can help. This aiding process is due mainly to the fact that fluids with large amounts of sodium increase our muscles absorption capacity.

So, if you find yourself at the Peachtree tomorrow and just can’t get the race officials to let you start with the elite field when the sun is still sleepy, then make sure you are hydrated before going to bed, run happy, drink lots of water when you finish, and (if you are lucky enough to be caught on camera wearing a Chick-fil-A Race Series shirt) enjoy a free milkshake.

Josh D

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