Today’s MIT workout run was cancelled due to excessive heat. Temperatures are supposed to soar to 103 degrees with a heat index of 110. Being outside for any period of time can be risky, especially when exerting yourself by doing any type of physical activity such as running. If you must be outside or exercise in the heat, here are some important keys to remember:
I didn’t realize that the headaches I was getting after my runs were due to dehydration. A good way to make sure you are hydrated is to check the color of your urine. If it is dark, that is a good sign that you aren’t drinking enough. Mine was very light or close to clear, but I still had headaches. Water isn’t enough for me at times and when the humidity is high and we have heat like this, I need something more. Right now that something more is Gatorade. I have to go with what my stomach tolerates and what makes my body feel good.
Slow down - If you are a nut like me and have to get your miles in regardless of the conditions outside, be smart about it. Adjust your pace accordingly. If you monitor your heart rate, you will notice a spike when the heat and humidity are high.
Timing and Location – Exercise in the early morning before sunrise or later at night after sundown. If you have to option to exercise indoors in the A/C, do so.
Listen – Pay attention to your body. If at any point during your exercise you feel dizzy, light-headed, stop sweating, get the chills – stop immediately and either get into the A/C, shade and get additional fluids.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion (source)
The most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- dark-colored urine (which indicates dehydration)
- muscle cramps
- pale skin
- profuse sweating
- rapid heartbeat
It is always better to err on the side of caution, so if you experience any of those symptoms and don’t see improvement within 30 minutes, get help, as heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke.
I chose to get up at 5 AM and meet some friends to run early at 5:30 AM to beat the excessive heat. It was still 79 degrees and 70% humidity at 5 AM, which made for a steamy run. We were just a little sweaty:
(Hope Sarah doesn’t kill me for putting this picture on my blog!)
I have been drinking Gatorade like it is my job and have all but eliminated the headaches I was getting. I thought water was doing the job, but I thought wrong. My body was trying to tell me something.