Training & Racing

Summer Running

Summer Running

Summer temperatures are on the rise and there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid becoming a victim of heat related illnesses. Knowing how to properly hydrate, deciding when is the best time to train, and recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat related illness will make your summer running season safer and more enjoyable. 

The body’s ability to produce and excrete sweat is the most important means of cooling down your core temperature.  Heat is lost through the skin, by respiration and sweating (which accounts for 75 percent of heat loss). Sweat MUST evaporate, and hotter days require more of this to cool the body.  When outside temperatures rise above 95 degrees, no heat is lost from the skin and all cooling must come from evaporation.  Humidity becomes a major obstacle in this process as the evaporation rate is restricted due to the atmosphere being saturated. Listed below are the warning signs for heat related illnesses:

Heat Cramps (Stable Core Temp)

  • Exact cause is unknown (possibly from dehydration or electrolyte deficiency)
  • Sudden, Sharp Muscle Pain in the Legs
  • Localized Pain or Tenderness
  • Difficulty Walking or Running
  • Muscles feel firm to touch

—Heat Exhaustion (Core temp 98.6° to 104°)

  • Excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat
  • Feeling Faint or Dizzy
  • Headache
  • Heavy Sweating with Cool, Pale Skin
  • Rapid, Weak Heartbeat
  • Fatigue and/or Nausea
  • Dark Colored Urine

—Heat Stroke (above 104°)

  • Heat stroke resulting from strenuous exercise is called exertional
  • High Body Temperature
  • Lack of Sweating, Flushed Skin (classical)
  • Heavy Sweating, Flushed Skin (exertional)
  • Rapid Breathing & Rapid Heart Rate
  • Muscle Cramps or Weakness
  • Neurological Symptoms (Hallucinations, Loss of Consciousness, Difficulty Speaking, Seizures, Coma)

The best way to dodge a trip to the hospital or potentially life-threatening situation is to plan ahead. Run early in the morning, at night, or behind the shade of buildings and trees.  Wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing and protect yourself from the sun.  Avoid alcohol and limit your caffeine intake, also, check any medications for side effects like dehydration.  Most importantly, go with a friend or let someone know where you’re going and when you anticipate returning from the run.

When it comes to hydration, there is no conclusive guideline from the RDA, so exercise and temperature will determine your needs.  The best time to hydrate is before you run, since it’s nearly impossible to recover fluid loss while running.  Try to consume one liter (32 ounces) in the two hours prior to training or 15-17 ounces each hour beforehand and cease consumption 20-30 minutes before exercise to allow for absorption.  Electrolytes are also very important to help replace minerals lost through sweating.  Remember, more is not necessarily better, follow the instructions on the package or use pre-made mixtures such as Vitamin Water or something similar.    

General Guidelines for Fluid Intake

Average Weight Person/Hotter Temps: 20-25 oz per hour

(Example: Nathan Bottle – 22oz for 1 Hour or Camelback Bladder 100oz for 5 Hours)

Lighter Person or Cooler Temps: 16-18 oz per hour

Heavier Person/Hotter Temps: up to 28 oz per hour

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This post was written by:

- who has written 8 posts on Trail Running Club.

After graduating from Western Illinois University in 2004, Boone furthered his career in the health & fitness industry and owns a training and coaching business in Arizona. A lifetime runner and outdoor enthusiast, Boone enjoys competing in endurance events on both road and trails. When he is not training clients, odds are you can find him on the trail somewhere around the Southwest.

Since 2009, Boone has 33 Top Ten finishes including: -1st Overall 2014 San Pedro Park 10K -3rd Overall 2014 San Luis Obispo Marathon -4th Overall 2014 Oakland Marathon -2nd Overall 2013 Tucson Half Marathon -1st Overall 2013 Pass Mountain 12K (CR) -3rd Overall 2013 Canyon de Chelly 55K -4th Overall 2013 Santa Rosa Marathon -7th Overall 2013 Phoenix Marathon -2nd Overall 2013 Desert Classic Marathon -1st Overall 2013 Rose Bowl 10K -2nd Overall 2012 Mesquite Canyon Trail 50K -4th Overall 2012 Lost Dutchman Marathon -2nd Overall 2012 XTERRA McDowell Mountain 15 mile run -6th Overall 2011 Zane Grey Highline Trail 50 Mile Endurance Run -4th Overall 2011 Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run -1st Overall 2010 Sedona 50K -1st Overall 2010 Flagstaff 50K

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