Sunday, May 23, 2010

Heat Nausea Spreads Through the Southeast.

 Cattails on my run this morning.
(Really appreciated the excuse for a break)
Brought back childhood memories.

Many runners in the southeast have recently been posting about heat issues on blogs, fb, twitter, etc.  I have posted several times about April and May being tough months for me and running.  We have roughly 4 seasons here, so it takes some doing each spring to get acclimated to the heat.   This year, we had a cooler than normal April, but now we are having almost record high heat daily.   Below I listed the things I do to run in the extreme heat and humidity of South MS, and even worse, South LA (more humid).

This is what I do: 
*during my running break,  I walked in the afternoon heat to try to get ready for my return to running.
*I eat before 85% of my runs.  I am weird in that I get nauseated if I do not eat prior to a run.
*I'm also sure to drink a LOT of water before heading out the door in the summer, probably around 16 oz. of water,  plus several cups of decaf coffee.
*I drop waters so that I have water every 20 min. or sometimes I wear a hydration belt.
*If I'm going over 1:40 (10 miles for me in the summer), I will also drop some Gatorade too.  I drink some Gatorade and some water.  I have Gatorade around 45-60 min. and then every 45-60 min., and continue with water every 20 min
*If I'm going over 2:00 (12 miles for me in the summer), I will also use gels (I prefer Gu chocolate), starting at 1 hour and then every 45 min beyond that. 
   I started experimenting with Accelerade gels over the winter which have an "all-natural whey protein and carbohydrates in a patented 4:1 ratio to help aid athlete performance and speed recovery."
*My pace naturally slows with the heat.
*When I get back, I drink another large glass of water and continue drinking throughout the day.
  If I'm running in the evening I try to drink extra during the day and drink a large glass (16 oz) prior to running in the evening. 
* A nice extra treat - a couple of years ago we started putting rags in the cooler with the drinks.  For our long runs we run a 5 mile loop and we put coolers out around 2.5 miles and 5 miles with water, Gatorade, and wet icy rags to cool our face.  It's so refreshing.   Depending on our mileage we may be doing the loop several times, but it's convenient for water stops. (we alternate water/Gatorade duty each week).  If I run solo, it's typically not as luxurious.  It may be hot waters, and hot Gatorade by the time I make it to my stops.
*If I plan to race, I plan runs that will be run at the same time as the race.  Last year in June, I ran a half marathon that started at 6:00 am.  In preparing for it, I had several runs that started at 8:00 which should be the time that I was finishing the half marathon.  Also, this year, I plan to run some 5ks later in the summer, so I will have many runs that start at 8:00 or 8:30 to get ready to run a race in the heat.

This seems to work for me.  Several years ago a friend and I were out on a run in Aug.  We did not have enough water and we both had a horrible, horrible long run.  We both still remember that day clearly.  Yes, it's a pain to prep, but for me, and her, we decided on that day not to duplicate that run.  I takes some extra work, but  it's worth it, for the hopes of a decent summer run.  It seems to work, I haven't had another run as memorable as that horrible run several years ago.   Typically, by mid June I have adjusted to the heat and it doesn't seem to be as big an issue as April and May when I am getting acclimated to it.

Some of the recommendations on a fb comment yesterday:
These were posted by Ben and Terry - good info for most people

*drink a lot of water throughout the day. Even on days when you are not training. 
*it does take some time to get acclimated to the heat. 
*try Endurolytes. They are capsules with electroyltes/salts/etc.
* slow down. Running in the heat is hard, even when acclimated to it. You can't run with the same speed you did a few weeks ago when the temperatures were cooler and the humidity was lower.
* Start out your runs hydrated and continue to drink fluids during the run. Especially if the run exceeds 40 minutes. For my lunch runs in the summer I make sure I drink a 20 ounce bottle of Gatorade/Powerade 1 hour before the run and another 20 ounce bottle right after the run.
* Sports drinks are better than water for drinking during exercise. They absorb more quickly, help prevent hyponatremia, and provide muscles with energy.
* Run when it is cooler if you can – early morning is best.
* You will gain a considerable amount of heat acclimation within the first two weeks but your body will continue to adapt for weeks as the temperatures continue to climb.
*Slow down. Even after your body has reached its maximum acclimation to the heat you can't excise as hard as you did when it was cooler.
*Try the electrolyte tablets that Ben suggests. I do use them (on occassion) prior to a run if the run is going to take me an hour or more, but I don't normally use them during the run-just Gatorade/Powerade.
* If you are taking gels during the run I'd suggest drinking water, not a Sports drink, with those. Too much sugar in your stomach will SLOW absorption. Gels should be taken with water. AND
* SLOW DOWN 
First week back!
14 miles of slow running
2 runs with friends
1 yoga class
4 days of core work, yoga poses, and some stretching
9 miles walking

One last note:  If you are not a summer runner, you can become one if you WANT to.  Many years ago, I would cut my mileage WAY back during the summer and I would say "I just can't run in the summer."  A few years ago, I was determined to do it.  I wanted it, so I made it happen.  Now I have learned to really enjoy summer running, especially when I make it to the middle of June.  

What works for you to conquer summer running?   What about runners in areas that have much less variation in season like South FL and Southern CA?  Do you stay acclimated to the heat year around, or how does the heat effect you? 

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20 comments:

Bethany + Ryan said...

good stuff! i do pretty well with the heat altho Ryan does NOT! anything over 50 is hot for him!

Julie said...

Hi Ginny,
Oh my goodness, it is so flipping humid here in Minnesota right now! This is day number two and I am sick of it already:( You posted some great tips...I took careful note. It is always challenging for me to run in the heat and humidity. You are doing a great job of getting out there and busting out smart runs! Also, good job on the yoga and walking:)

BTW: I looked into eye surgery and my eye sight is so poor that my eye specialist told me that I was not a good candidate for the surgery. I am a -8.50 in both eyes:( I hate wearing my glasses because they are so thick....even with the thin lenses I look like a dork:) The sad thing is that I am 40 and it is only going to get worse!

Robbie said...

Thanks for all the tips! I'm finding the earlier I can run the better; I didn't say it was great, but better. I ran more last week than I have since training for my last half! It just happened. Maybe I like it better than I thought. It wreaks havoc with Kent but he is hanging in there!!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Good tips! Just tried Nuun - electrolyte tabs - on my bike ride today. I felt fine - no heat trouble.

Alee said...

This is great advice! I ran my first half marathon today, and it was 85 and super humid. We haven't had hot weather here before this weekend, so that was pretty tough.

Staci Dombroski said...

It is humid here in SC too :( I was dripping after my short run today!

LMC said...

Love the cattail pix! They brought back memories for me too (many treks thru the Everglades in Florida).
This is great advice! I enjoy running in the summer but am especially mindful of drinking enough fluids (water, Gatorade, Heed). I also run in the morning before the temps get too high. Thanks for sharing the recommendations!

HappyTrails said...

Ok, I whine about the long, cold winter and dream about summer but the truth is, I wilt BIG time when it gets warm here (and we don't have humidity usually). I LOVE the warm but my body performs better in the cold. We usually try to get out early in the cool of the morning to beat the heat and intense sun. Maybe, for us, it is more the intense sun/uv, living at 6800 ft, rather than the heat. Dunno...... Anyway, right now I am SO HAPPY it's not cold anymore!!!
K :-)

Jennifer said...

Ginny, what a timely post! As you know I had a good hot run this morning, for me surviving was drinking lots of water and using some gels and as you mentioned drinking water with my gels is a must. I also often have fruit, like an orange cut up and in my hydration pack. I think I will follow the wet rag thing and start brining one with me. I could have used that today! Most important is patience, taking time to let my body adjust and taking it step by step works for me (easier said than done!)

MCM Mama said...

Thanks for all the awesome tips! I need to follow them (especially the part about slowing down).

Scott Keeps Running said...

I woke up with frost on my windshield yesterday morning. :(

I might have a few more weeks to wait until the warm weather comes around these parts.

lindsay said...

such thorough tips!! while i prefer heat to cold, frigid winters... it is annoying to have to put the extra prep work into making sure you have water / places to fill up along the way. i just have to remind myself - at least my water isn't freezing during my run! :)

Anne said...

Thanks so much for this...I had my first seriously hot weather run today...it was HARD!
I really appreciate all this advice.

Susan said...

Hey! Thanks for visiting my blog!

My hot weather tip is taking a cloth diaper (hey - it's convenient - but a bandana would work) and putting ice cubes in it and tying it around my neck. It is sooooo refreshing.

I had a beautiful painting done for my husband by an artist in Hattiesburg. Small world!

Meg said...

Welcome back to running, Ginny. Sounds like you're off to a nice start! Here in So. Cal, I've been used to running but I try to hydrate all day long if I now I'm going to run in the afternoon. We take electrolyte taps, salt, water and gels when we go on our long runs in the early morning heat. We just take it slower and take some breaks if we need to.
Nice post, thanks!

Jill said...

Haha, I was laughing at Julie's comment how she's so sick of heat/humidity already....I remember her sick of cold, too. Anyway, I just got a Camelbak because I do not do well in the heat and the hydration waist pack was starting to bother my back. I thought I'd totaly dispise it but I absolutely love it (well, aside from the fact it almost strangled me and I have a large "hickie" on my neck. Need to find a fix for that!); it's so light and takes the pressure off my lower back. I also take S!caps, the electrolyte tablets your FB friends suggested; they are amazing. I also take Perpetuem on really long runs, I make it super concentrated and carry in a flask!

So glad to see ya back on the road again. That wasn't too long, was it!!??!!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

I was soooo resistant to slowing down, but now if I start out nice and slow I seem to ease in to my normal pace.

I also started walking in the heat of the day, so that my early morning runs felt nicer..I mean 80degrees isn't really nice...but it's nicer than 95!

Liz said...

Hey, I quoted you and linked to your blog from my blog. Hope you don't mind. I really liked what you said in your previous post about taking a month off running after the marathon.

Thanks.

Katie said...

I live in New England so we don't usually have to worry about the heat too much. Although last week I had my first warm run at 87 degrees, which is really hot when you haven't run in anything over 70 degrees. Today when I ran it was 80 degrees, not quite as bad. Right now I'm pregnant, so I carry Gatorade. I stop every 10 minutes to drink it. I would think that stopping every 10 minutes would really slow me down, but surprisingly it hasn't. Great tips!

Petraruns said...

Helpful post! After months of cold we finally have some heat here and although it is nothing like yours I am suffering. Early mornings work for me, as do salt tabs and lots and lots of water. Oh yes - and eating before I run.