These are the realities of summer workouts.
As the temperatures get warmer in the area, we should probably touch on a pretty hot topic (HA ... okay, sorry). Overheating is a risk that comes with working out in the summer. I had never really thought too much about overheating until halfway through high school when almost the entire football team had to be treated for it. There were helicopters, ambulances, and news reporters. Pretty soon all the sports teams were carrying around giant icy kegs of water, and coaches were reluctant to say no if you asked for a drink.
But this doesn't mean you hole up in your house over the summer and wait for it to get cool outside before you train again. It doesn't even necessarily mean you have to wake up at an ungodly hour and go for a run before the sun has had a chance to rise. So here are some tips on what to do:
1. Stick to the shade.
This one definitely seems like a no-brainer. Who wouldn't want to run under cover from the sun? There's less of a glare in your eyes, obviously cooler temps, and less risk of sunburn. But it can be hard to find a trail that has a lot of coverage. Recommendations for the Annapolis area: Truxtun Park has lots of winding woods trails that'll make it very hard on the sun to get you, and Quiet Waters Park is almost completely shaded. Can't find a properly wooded running trail? Run downtown. If you start getting super-hot, you can duck into a store or coffee shop to get some A/C. If you're lucky, someone may even give you a cup of water.
Yes, hydrating is always a good thing to do, but when the weather heats up, it's even more important. And you might have to drink more than you usually do. Avoid that morning cup of joe right before you go out – and alcohol, too. Drinking diuretics is a quick way to dehydrate. So what should you be drinking? Water, sometimes.
Wait, only sometimes?
Yup. Water is great if your workout isn't going to last too long or be too intense. Pushing the limits today? Working out for a couple of hours? Grab a sports drink. Worried about your sugar intake? Pedialyte is your answer — it's not just for kids! It's high in electrolytes and low in sugar, making it perfect for your workout.
3. Dress right.
Some people think overdressing causes more weight loss so they wear long sleeves, pants, or materials that aren't very breathable. Word to the wise: This is incorrect and unsafe. Sweating is just water loss, so while you may be lighter for a little while after sweating a bucketload, the weight will come right back on once you rehydrate. So please wear clothes that are appropriate for the weather. Light colors, lightweight fabrics, shorts, and moisture-wicking materials should be your go-tos in warm weather.
4. Listen to your body.
Do what's best for you, and stay in tune with how you're feeling. If you're way too thirsty or sweating more than you ever have, at least take a break. Grab some ice chips. Starting to feel cold and nauseated? Call it a day. Look for these symptoms: intense sweat; fatigue; muscle soreness; thirst; then, later on, weakness; dizziness; nausea; vomiting; headaches; suddenly feeling cool; and dark-colored urine. If things get really bad you may have a fever, flushed skin, shallow breathing, loss of consciousness, weak heartbeat, confusion, and seizures. Don't get to that point. You can always work out another day when you're feeling better.
Training in the summer can be a good time to get your tan. So stay safe and have fun! Let us know how you stay cool in the summer!
The Run-Around is a weekly feature, focusing on fitness in and around Annapolis, MD.