Hydration & Dealing With the Heat

June 20th, 2011 | In Uncategorized

Summer is here in Atlanta – complete with high humidity and temperatures in the upper-90s!  That can create some unique problems for your training, and can also pose some serious health risks.

The most important thing to remember when running in the summer is to stay hydrated. Being properly hydrated is a key component for a variety of bodily functions and for regulating your body temperature through sweating.  When you become dehydrated, your body works less efficiently, resulting in reduced performance.

In fact, studies have shown that even slight dehydration can negatively impact performance.  A one percent decrease in hydration can lead to as much as a three percent decline in performance.

If you sweat enough to lose as little as two percent of your body weight, it results in a drop in blood volume.  This increase in viscosity forces your heart and circulatory system to work harder in order to keep up the same energy output.

For hydrating in the summer, try these guidelines:

  • Drink a glass of water 10-15 minutes before you start to exercise
  • Plan to drink fluids every 20-30 minutes during exercise
  • Drink 20-24 ounces for each pound lost during exercise to help replenish fluids

In addition to staying hydrated, your body needs to sweat properly to cool itself:

  • Wear light, moisture-wicking apparel (no long-sleeve shirts or pants)
  • Use a headband or visor rather than a hat
  • Avoid exercising when the humidity is above 70-80% as it is difficult for sweat to evaporate, which means the body can’t cool itself.

And finally, be aware that you will find yourself working harder to go slower. Olympian and coach Jeff Galloway says that you need to start slowing your pace down even at 65-70 degrees … let alone 90-95!

Coach Roy Benson says the same thing is true for those who use heart rate monitors to measure how hard they are working. Because of your heart having to work to help cool your body, you may notice what Benson calls “cardiac creep” where your heart rate increases even with no perceptible increase in effort. He recommends not fighting it, and simply slowing down till your heart rate is at 75% of max.

All of this advice will of course vary depending on the individual, but starting with these guidelines will help keep your body running at peak efficiency all through the summer months!

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One Person has left comments on this post

» Dennis Murray

Jun 20, 2011 at 02:06:45

I’ve found the biggest factor to being hydrated for activity is what I do the day and night before.

No alcohol the night before heavy outdoor activity.
At least a quart of water the night before.

Constant intake every day has kept me in good shape for activity anytime.