The summer is officially here, and for those who run, the heat and humidity will be brutal. Before you end up needing medical attention or have to pay a visit to an emergency room, Dr. Dan Ordaz, Performance Medicine Physician with St.Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis has these five tips to help you get the most out of your summer runs!
1. Choose your route carefully:
Two things to consider are shade and wind direction. If possible, try and run in a shaded area. Also, if you are doing an out and back run, run with the wind at your back on the way out and as a headwind on your way back. This will provide some cooling as you start to get warmer.
2. Time of day:
Try to run early in the morning or late in the day. The times to avoid are 12pm – 6pm. The sun hits its highest point around noon. This gives maximal sun exposure and can burn you in the shortest amount of time. However, it takes some time for the sun to heat the surface so you will not get your hottest temperatures until around 3pm. And depending on clouds, wind, etc. it will take another 2-3 hours for that temperature to decrease.
3. Slow down:
Accept the fact that you cannot run as fast in the heat and humidity as you can whens it’s cool. A general guideline would be to slow your pace 20-30 seconds per mile for every five degrees above 60 F. It takes the body an average of two weeks to acclimate to running in the heat. So you may notice some improvement then but you will always have to account for the heat and slow your pace down.
4. Clothing choice:
Wear as little clothing as possible. Choose clothes that are light in color and weight. Clothes that breath well. Most technical gear works well for this. Also be sure to use sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher.
Too much or too little can cause medical issues and be counter productive to performance. If you are planning on being out there for longer than a half an hour, you should be drinking something. And you would benefit more from a sports drink. While we once recommend drinking every 15 minutes or so, current evidence supports that drinking when you’re thirsty is the best approach to prevent you from over or under drinking.
About Dr. Dan Ordaz:
Dr. Ordaz is a sports medicine physician and the team physician for Heritage Christian Schools and medical director for the Geist Half-Marathon. He has provided medical coverage for Butler University and Marian University athletics, the Carmel Marathon and Geist Half-Marathon, B1G Ten basketball and football tournaments, and multiple USA Track and Field events. As an avid runner and endurance athlete, he has a special interest in evaluating and managing running injuries. Dr. Ordaz completed his residency with St.Vincent Family Medicine and fellowship with St.Vincent Sports Performance. He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine.