Running in the summer is difficult. You’ve got the sun bearing down on you, your body is sweating out every bit of water you drank the night before, and all your friends are at the Truck Yard. We asked Marcus Grunewald, executive director at the Dallas Marathon, what we could do to enjoy a five-mile run in 90-degree heat with 80-percent humidity. We thought he’d say there’s nothing that can be done. We were wrong. Here are his tips:
Slowly acclimate to the heat.
“If the weather one day is 70 degrees for a high and the weather the next day is 90, don’t expect to be able to run the same distance both days,” Grunewald says. “You have to slowly acclimate to the increase in temperature and humidity.” Start slow and build, just like you would do for your marathon training. This requires paying attention to your body, and actually listening to it (many of us have problems doing that last bit).
Don’t forget your water bottle when heading out the door for a summer run. And you may want to add supplements (such as Nuun) to that water. “You do sweat out potassium and electrolytes,” Grunewald says, mentioning how the supplements can replace both. “They can help you not to cramp up when you’re doing a longer run and you sweat and lose more of the elements.” It’s important to not only stay hydrated during a run, but also leading up to a run and the days leading up to a race. Grunewald says that if you’re going to the restroom once an hour, you are probably well hydrated.
But don’t overhydrate.
Grunewald says the running community became aware of over-hydration problems in about 2003 or 2004. People who were drinking too much would cross finish lines bloated and with their potassium, magnesium, and salt levels all over the place. So it became industry standard to supply water every other mile instead of every mile during a race. “We tell people to be very careful of their consumption,” Grunewald says.
Find some shade.
Dallas has some great options for running trails with not only shade, but also water. Katy Trail and White Rock Lake both offer protection against the sun’s powerful rays, but you might think about doing some off-roading. “There are a lot of good trail runs,” Grunewald says. “But it brings another set of concerns.” Road racers don’t have to worry about where they’re stepping. It’s one foot in front of another. When on a trail, you have to be careful where you’re stepping, what you’re stepping over, and what animals might be out. If you’re willing to go for it, try Rowlett Creek Preserve, Northshore Trail at Lake Grapevine, or L.B. Houston Nature Trails.
Get a good sunscreen.
And then rehydrate by grabbing a drink with your friends at Truck Yard.