Summer is the season for sweating

  • This was printed in June of 2014 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 57th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

What better way to start your summer than with a race?

The Madera chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will

host the Madtown 5K at Lions Town and Country Park on Saturday at 7 a.m. Medals will

be awarded to the top three male and female finishers, and all participants will receive

mesh bags, souvenir water bottles and sponsor information.

Registration is $30; all proceeds benefit AAUW Scholarships for Education, which

supports young women attending college and also sends middle school students to Tech

Trek, a science and engineering camp for girls.

Registration forms are available at Thrive Fitness, 1803 Sunset Ave., where goodie bag

pickup will also be held Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Race-day registration is available, just

arrive early.

Saturday marks the first day of summer, although for us Valley dwellers it feels like that

day came weeks ago when the triple-digit temps kicked in. Those who think I’m crazy for

running at 5 a.m. will begin to realize — when it’s a scorching 90 degrees at 8 a.m. —

that I’m not so crazy after all.

The heat is not an excuse to stop running or exercising, however; runners just have to put

a little more effort into thinking about how to stay cool.

Protect yourself from the sun

It’s already pretty light outside by 5:15 a.m., so my new morning routine consists of

applying sunscreen, donning a visor or hat, and wearing as little clothes as possible.

Lightweight running tops with vents and mesh aren’t just cute, they’re functional. I

choose fabrics that “breathe” and wick moisture, and come in light colors that won’t

absorb the sun’s rays.

Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours.

Stay hydrated

Our coach graciously provides the team with cold water and an electrolyte beverage

during our long Saturday runs, so I usually don’t have to carry anything. But when I do,

I’m happy that runners have a huge selection of hydration devices to choose from.

Hydration vests that hold water bladders connected to long, flexible straws are

appropriate for those planning several-hour long jaunts, while a hydration belt that rests

on the hips, or just a handheld bottle, is appropriate for shorter outings.

You shouldn’t wait until you’re thirsty to start drinking water — by then, you’re already

dehydrated.

Drinking the right amount of fluids during a run is an art. Runner’s World magazine

recommends taking in 5 to 12 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during a run. But for me,

drinking that much would leave water sloshing around in my stomach.

I don’t take in the recommended amount of fluids during a run because, I think, I am

plenty hydrated every day, throughout the day. I fill up a 24-ounce tumbler with water at

least four times daily. My “golden” rule: urine shouldn’t be yellow.

…but not over-hydrated

It’s also important not to overdo it with water intake. Besides a sloshing stomach,

drinking too much water during a long run can lead to hyponatremia, or water

intoxication, in which a person loses too much sodium through sweat and takes in too

much water, thus diluting the blood’s sodium levels. Sports drinks and even salt tablets

are recommended for runs longer than an hour.

Stay cool

Seek shade as much as possible, and try exercising on grass rather than sizzling asphalt.

Monitor your core body temperature; hitting 102 or above can be dangerous. Apply cold

packs to your head/neck or soak your head in cold water if you feel yourself overheating.

Any time of the year, it’s smart to run with a buddy. If you can’t, let someone know

where you will be running and how long you are expected to be gone.

Run on!

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