News-Press "Go Coastal" BikeWalkLee Column, June 22, 2016
In case you hadn’t noticed, summer arrived with a vengeance. The heat starts early and the rain follows along later, making outdoor activities a little more challenging.
Our climate shouldn’t chase you inside, but it does mean you need to make adjustments and plan ahead to keep cool(er) and safe – particularly since we have such a stretch of heat, sometimes even reaching dangerous heat indexes (which is a good reason to be careful or even head inside that day).
From a variety of sources, some tips for running in the heat (they work for walking as well):
|(Photo: Sarah Coward/news-press.com)|
Wear as little as possible: Wear apparel that’s light in color, lightweight, and has vents or mesh. Microfiber polyesters and cotton blends are good fabric choices. Also, think about wearing a hat, shades, and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for further protection.
Drink early and often: Top off your fluid stores with 16 ounces of water or a sports drink an hour before you head out. Then toss down five to eight ounces about every 20 minutes while working out. Pick the liquid that works best for you; sports drinks often beat water because they contain electrolytes, which increase your water-absorption rate, replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat, and taste good, making it easy to drink more (important on long runs). Also watch your alcohol and meds: Alcohol, antihistamines and antidepressants can all have a dehydrating effect.
Be cool. Keep it cold to keep your cool… colder liquids help lower your core body temperature from the inside, and dumping a little water on you mid-run can help your skin temperature feel less hellish (as long as your clothing cooperates). A little rain might not even hurt – as long as there’s no lightning on the horizon.
Check the breeze: If possible, start your run going with the wind and then run back with a headwind. Running into the wind has a cooling effect, and you’ll need that in the second half of a run. Also running on asphalt after a hot day won’t be too cool, since the surface holds the heat. If you run after a rain, it can help... or look for a grassy route.
Slow down: Every 5-degree rise in temperature can slow your pace by as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile. So don’t fight it - just slow down (you’ll get the pace back when it cools off).
Run in water: Substitute your outdoor walk or run with a pool-running session of the same duration. If you’re new to pool running, use a flotation device and simply move your legs as if you were running on land, with a slightly exaggerated forward lean and vigorous arm pump. Deeper water offers more resistance… and keeps more of you covered in water.
By Ken Gooderham, BikeWalkLee
-- BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County - streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org.