Heat Running

Summer is coming in HOT which means a change in how we approach our training and racing. Physical activity in hotter temperatures loads the strain on your body and cardiovascular system. As your body temperature rises, your body reacts with increased sweat production, your heart rate increases and your blood vessels dilate.

Learn to manage the heat and you’ll find yourself able to go longer, faster, stronger over the trails during the hotter months.

Route Check

Try for routes that allow for a mid-run swim or just a dip in a stream. Damns, waterfalls and even the smallest trickles become a trail runner’s best friend in summer.

Gear Check

Sunscreen is a basic necessity. Squeeze a small amount in to a little bank bag and keep that in your pack for reapplication along the way. Go for a loose fit and moisture-wicking materials for both your shirt and shorts to prevent heat from building up under your clothes. Choose light colours. They reflect the sunlight and store less heat. A cap or Buff help in protecting your face and neck from the sun. Go for sunglasses with a UV filter.

Reality Check

Overheating is a real danger, so ease in to your summer training with lower intensity workouts. Start early, and know when to stop. If you experience headaches, intense thirst, muscle cramps or dizziness, you should stop immediately, look for shade and drink some water as well as electrolytes.

Some advice from the coaches…

Landie Greyling

"Naturally you will need more fluids when running in the heat, but runners often make the mistake of only hydrating with water, which can actually lead to further dehydration sometimes, as pure water can flush the vitamins and minerals from your system on a very long run or ultra race. Ideally you want to hydrate with electrolytes or supplement with salt tablets. Drinking magnesium at night before you go to bed also helps with restoration and recovery.”

Linda Doke

“The quickest way to stop the body from overheating when you’re running in the heat is with water. Splashing your face, head, back of neck, ears and wrists with water is not only refreshing, it also helps conduct body heat away from the body fastest. The wrists and ears have veins close to the surface of the skin, and with water being a conductor of heat, simply add water to cool down! Keep a Buff handy and re-soak it every so often during your run, using it to dab neck, wrists and brow whenever you need. Also, don’t forget the good old cap-scoop trick – simply whip off your cap, scoop up a capful, and slap it back on your head. The best bucket-challenge ever!”

Ian Waddel

“The human body is amazing in that it can adapts to anything given time if allowed to “ease into” running in the heat i.e. build up your time in the heat slowly – I have found pouring water over your head and body while running evaporates in the heat thus cooling down your core temperature quickly - try it out and see!”

Happy summer running – and don’t skimp on the beautiful mountain sunrise pics!

Words: Kim Stephens