running safety

Some people can run in the heat like it’s no issue whatsoever. Dreamboat is one of those guys. The idea of going out in 90something degree weather and sweating gallons under a cloudless sky makes him feel alive. Me? I feel like I’m going to die before the first quarter mile mark. And it’s not because I’m a big girl running. It’s because my body loathes anything over about 75 degrees.

“But Jamie! You live in Florida! Shouldn’t you be used to the heat by now?” you ask. I smile and nod. I am used to the heat. And by used to it, I mean I know what I physically need to do in order to stay safe in the incredibly crazy hot temperatures: wear light colored, light weight clothing, drink lots of water and/or sports drinks, wear a hat and sunglasses, track how I’m sweating, and every hour or so take a break in the shade or in the water. And that’s not even if I am running, that’s just by being out and about normally.

When running comes into play, things change DRASTICALLY.

Heat related illnesses and problems are serious business. By no means should you ignore that signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, because if you do it could be fatal. And no, I’m not exaggerating this. I’ve been on the receiving end of heat exhaustion plenty of times, and damn near had heat stroke after a race one time, and after 3 IV’s of ice cold fluids and showing signs of improvement, I was able to convince them to not take me to the hospital.

The best way to combat these things from happening is to listen to your body. Sounds simple right? If any of you runners are like me, you’ll push and push regardless of how you feel just to get the miles in … and in the dead of summer that’s NOT the right thing to do.

Here’s why: Once your body temperature climbs to 104 degrees, you’re in the heatstroke danger zone. Continued hard running at this temperature can overwhelm your cardiovascular system. Hit 105 degrees for 30 minutes or more and your body may start to cook from the inside out. The hyperthermia can weaken the heart, cause the kidneys and the liver to shut down, and cause cell damage. Exertional heatstroke has arrived.

If you think about what that means, it’s terrifying.

NOW – that’s not saying that everyone has that issue. Dreamboat can run in this heat without any issues. I’ve seen lots of people posting on Instagram about how they are still able to keep their 8 minute miles or less every morning. It is, however, something to think about when it comes to heat advisories and warnings.

A few times this week, I was faced with the “feels like” temps in the 110s. Despite running in the morning, it was still 95 degrees with 98% humidity. I was DYING. Sure, the shade was better because the sun wasn’t beating down on me, but I still felt awful and wanted to just pass out. I cut my runs short, or didn’t run at all. Am I frustrated with that? Absolutely. But it’s not because I can’t handle the running, it’s because I can’t handle the heat!

The best way to combat this is to know how your body reacts to the heat, and to know the signs of heat stroke/exhaustion so you can be prepared. Knowledge is power in this instance. I know the temps will turn cooler here soon, but for those of you who are still pounding the pavement in the hot, hot, heat… use the links above to familiarize yourself with heat exhaustion and heat stroke, then look here for what you need to know about dehydration: dehydration gx


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