David Freeze: Gotta Run

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dealing with the heat and humidity

I had hoped to avoid this subject but the summer heat and humidity has already been hanging around for several weeks and we will surely have plenty more of it over the next two months. My trip out west to Nevada, California and Utah for the Reno/ Tahoe Odyssey and nine days of biking took place on hot days, with temperatures reaching as high as 103 degrees. But those folks out west are so fortunate to have that lower humidity making even 103 temperatures much more tolerable. The best thing about those western states were nighttime temperatures falling into the 40’s and 50’s. I can’t wait for those temperatures to return for us.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about running in summer’s often oppressive conditions. In fact, I constantly try to learn more. Summertime running is the hardest all year and here are some tips that might help.

Hydration is the number one key to success! Most of the world’s population is dehydrated and runners are right there too. It takes a lot of water to make your body function well anytime and summer is the hardest to take in enough fluid. The old adage about being thirsty at the start of the run means that it is too late to rehydrate. Err on the side of drinking lots of water and don’t substitute Gatorade. That overblown marketing concept holds some value for afterwards but not before or during your run.

To add to the success of your hydration, increase the amounts of watery fruits for recovery. Watermelon is hard to beat along with cantaloupes and honey dew melons. The quicker the recovery of lost hydration, the better.

Dress for the weather. Stay away from hot clothing and that includes cotton shirts, shorts and socks. Those things all add more weight especially when full of sweat. Use the latest in dri-fit materials which help to wick the sweat away. Wear light colored and loose-fitting clothes.

A new tip for me was discovered on a hot afternoon in Reno, Nevada just a few weeks ago. I wore a pair of shoes that was near the end of wearable life. I also ran that day in a pair of cotton socks. It was during my fourth leg of the Odyssey Run that totaled just short of 20 miles that my feet became so hot that I could barely stand it. I wanted to find cold water and stand in it. Better shoes, especially those that are breathable, and good quality dri-fit socks do matter in hot weather. One pair of socks that I recently started wearing are the Feetures Elite that Ralph Baker Shoes carries. These socks are guaranteed for lifetime and are the best I have ever worn. No heat issues while wearing them either.

Run early or late. I prefer early morning runs and don’t even want to see the sun appear while on my own early summertime morning run. While the humidity is likely to still be high, the lower temperatures early or late can add more comfort. If you do end up running during the daylight hours, find shade as often as you can.

Be smart. This isn’t the time to push the pace for long periods. I often tell other runners who are struggling in these conditions to just accept that your performance won’t be as good. Keep thinking! One publication says that the recent local conditions can cause a loss in performance by as much as 8-21%.

Immediately after the workout, start the road to recovery. Cool drinks and the previously mentioned fruits can pick a runner up quickly. I recently stopped in at Juice Life beside the Hurley Y. Their cool and natural smoothies, along with cold pressed juices, provide a huge pickup almost immediately. Consume extra water and keep going until your pre-run energy returns.

Most runners find a big boost when the cool weather returns. Just enjoy your runs a little more by using the tips above and soon you will be back up to pace.

We have two good races coming up in July. July 14th has the 21st Annual Run for the Greenway and July 27th has the unusual 2 Day 5K on Main Street in China Grove. Starting at 11:59pm on Friday, even the fastest runners will finish early on Saturday morning. More information and other upcoming events are listed at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org