KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT HEAT
Hyperthermia (heat stroke, heat exhaustion, muscle cramps) can be deadly. It doesnít take long for a person to die, and a runner can collapse in less than five minutes after the onset of symptoms.
The Symptoms are:
††††††††††††††† A. Dizziness
††††††††††††††† B. Dry skin-no sweating
††††††††††††††† C. Redness
††††††††††††††† D. Nausea or cramps
††††††††††††††† E. Goose bumps on chest and arms
††††††††††††††† F. Incoherent speech and thoughts
When any of these symptoms occur, do the smart thing, save your race for a cooler day.
Hyperthermia can affect any runner, in any shape, during a race or hard workout. Itís not only the unconditioned, un-acclimated runner who will suffer.
Hyperthermia can occur on days when you might not expect it. The rapid rise in body temperature occurs when the bodyís natural cooling mechanism, evaporation, stops because the body has lost too much of its fluid through sweating. Research has shown that the rate of loss of body fluids is not substantially changed from temperatures of 70 degrees up. A temperature of 60 and a high relative humidity can be just as dangerous as 90 degrees and low humidity.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO MINIMIZE THE EFFECTS OF HEAT ON A RUNNER?
1. During hot weather, keep body contents of magnesium and potassium high. These minerals occur naturally in foods such as muskmelon, watermelon, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers.
2. Wear cool clothes. Loose fitting cotton, tank-top T-shirts with large breathing holes are best. Avoid nylon-it retains heat.
3. Cool off before the race. You might as well start with a slightly depressed temperature.
4. Before the race drink plenty of fluids. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests 13-17 fluid ounces 10 to 15 minutes before competing.
5. Drink plenty of fluids during and after the race.
6. Most importantly, choose your hard races for times when youíll be most likely to run well. Avoid hard efforts in races that are run during hot, humid weather. Avoid races that start late in the morning or during the afternoon in the summer and during hot, humid days in the spring and fall.