Hot Temperatures and Running

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Hot Temperatures and Running

Most years at the start of the Wasatch 100 miler just about everyone has a jacket on because it is often cold, but in 2009, the year I ran Wasatch it was very warm at the starting line and through out the whole day.

After twenty miles of running, I began to get a headache and my stomach started to feel nauseous. I realized that I was getting dehydrated and when I got to the first aid station (mile 20) I drank as much fluids as I could. This was a good and bad thing. “Good” meaning that if you are dehydrated you should drink. “Bad” meaning if you have a nauseous stomach then you should not start gulping down fluids fast. A quarter of a mile down the trail after the aid station I paid the price for gulping down too much water too fast and I throw up.

After throwing up, I was worried because I needed all those fluids that I just throw up. I still felt nauseous and my head seemed to hurt even more. I decided that as soon as I saw a stream, a spring or any source of water that I would soak my hat, shirt and handkerchief in it. The first source of water that I came up on was a spring and it had ice cold water flowing from it. I quickly wet everything down and then headed on down the trail. The water was so cold on my head from my wet hat that my headache got worse. But within 2 or three minutes my headache pain decreased significantly and I felt much better.

Drinking enough fluids is the most important thing to do, but the next thing to do to beat the heat is to soak yourself down whenever possible. To do this I have found it very helpful to wear a handkerchief around my neck that I can wet and a hat that I dip in streams. Having a wet handkerchief around your neck helps you stay cool because lot of blood flows through your neck and a wet handkerchief cools that blood which then helps in cooling your body down.

On hot days running in the mountains, if I come across a patch of snow, I’ll take some of the snow and put it underneath my hat. I will also tuck in my shirt and then put snow down my shirt. Tucking in my shirt keeps the snow right at my waist line and then melts slowly keeping me cool from the heat. Doing this helps a lot to stay cool during hot days. I would recommend this to anyone who needs to cool down on hot days.

Also, here is a post from about heat acclimation. Great post about how hot temperatures effects our running performance and how to deal with hot temperatures.

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