By Girish Bindra
I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days”, Ronald Rook
The above adage wisely captures the sentiment of a pedigreed runner. Running, truly, is an activity which never fails to clear your head, mobilise your mind to purge that nagging creative block or simply helps you in clearly making important decisions. About three decades of research in neuroscience has identified a robust link between aerobic exercise and subsequent cognitive clarity. Runners love the act to an extent that seasons and moods simply don’t matter. For them, it is an elixir of life.
You can achieve a Sound Mind in a Sound Body, but you must be mindful to the extent you push your body to during such extreme weather conditions. Summers can be a bit tough for the running community but with the help of the right set of athletic wear, fulfilling diet and key training pointers you can continue to keep clocking the distance you set out to achieve.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when running in rising temperatures.
START SLOWLY WHEN TRAINING IN THE HEAT
Give your body the time to adjust to higher temperatures. Avoid intense training sessions during the first few really hot days of summer and begin slowly. Gradually increase your workout intensity and let your body acclimate. If you are a beginner, you can also join a Running Club in your city to kickstart your running journey. These clubs are led by experienced runners who provide weekly training programmes with the intention of helping you achieve your personal fitness goals.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Be flexible with your running schedule. Allow yourself the chance to adapt your speed and distance to the given conditions. Give yourself a realistic timeframe and run according to how you feel. Mix up your pace and adjust your performance level to the heat.
HEAT AFFECTS YOUR HEART
The heart rate is elevated during warmer weather. When running with a heart rate monitor, remember that higher temperatures also boost your heart rate even if you run at your usual pace. Therefore, it might be a good idea to take it a bit slower. The fitter you are, the better your body will cope with the heat.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT OUTFIT
The appropriate workout clothes can protect your skin from UV rays even better than some sunscreens. Go for a loose fit and moisture-wicking materials for both your shirt and shorts to prevent heat from building up under your clothes. Wearing cotton clothing while running in summer is counterproductive: cotton absorbs your sweat without wicking it away and doesn’t dry quickly. Make sure you choose light colours. They reflect sunlight and do not store the heat. Running accessories matter in summertime as much as wintertime. A cap or light scarf can protect the head and shade the face. Last but not least, wear sunglasses with UV protection.
RIGHT PAIR OF SHOES
Select and own a pair of shoes that will help you run comfortably. I personally love neutral running shoes as they are relatively light weight and provide good support and bounce.
When running in the heat, your body tries to lower your core body temperature by sweating more. This causes you to lose fluids and minerals like magnesium and iron. Even a small change in your fluid balance can lead to major performance losses. The most important thing is to start off well hydrated. Drink regularly throughout the day and stick to diluted fruit juices, electrolytes and water. If you’re going to be working out for more than an hour, make sure to have a water bottle with you and take a sip from time to time. If you don’t want to carry a water bottle with you, plan your runs on routes where water is available.
AVOID MIDDAY HEAT
Choosing the right time of day for your training runs or races is vital during the summer months. Avoid running in the midday heat; head out in the morning or evening instead.
SELECT THE RIGHT ROUTES
With the sun burning in the sky, adjusting your route makes sense. Asphalt and cement absorb and transfer heat. Hotter days offer a good opportunity to abandon usual road routes and hit the trails. A run or workout in the trails is a lot of fun, adds variety to training, and offers shade. Runners are slower on rough trail terrain, which gives the heart a break.
EAT ADEQUATE VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Wholesome foods rich in vitamins and minerals should be a regular part of a healthy meal plan year-round. But when it’s hot outside, your body loses more minerals than usual due to sweating. Since the body can’t produce minerals and enough vitamins, they have to be obtained through food. Eat foods like bananas, dried apricots and whole grains before a workout to elevate mineral levels. Protein bars with added vitamins and minerals make nutrient-rich post-workout snacks.
DON’T BE TOO AMBITIOUS
If you experience headaches, intense thirst, muscle cramps or dizziness, you should stop immediately, look for shade, and drink some water. Excessive confidence is often your worst enemy when running in the heat, so leave it at home. Your body also needs longer to recover when it is very hot. If you don’t feel well when the heat is bearing down with high humidity, then it’s probably a good idea to take the day off or opt for a more refreshing training alternative like swimming.
By Girish Bindra, Coach, ASICS Running Club – Mumbai
(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly)