Following is an article I wrote for this month's edition of Myrtle Beach's Grand Strand Running Club's (GSRC) May newsletter. Check them out at: www.grandstrandrunner.com
The summer season has arrived. Stay safe out there!
They dubbed it, "The Duel in the Sun." Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley, America's top marathon runners, battled for 26.1 miles, in 85-degree, mid-April heat at the 1982 Boston Marathon. Salazar prevailed, edging Beardsley in the final tenth of a mile. But Salazar paid a steep price. His body was severely dehydrated, and his core temperature soared to a near-death 105 degrees. He was plunged into an ice bath, and intravenous fluids were pumped into his arms. By his own admission, he was never the same runner after that race.
Make no mistake: running in the heat can produce potentially deadly results. If proper measures are taken, however, blast furnace temperatures and tropical humidity can be dealt with safely.
First and foremost, be sure you are properly hydrated. It is nearly impossible to drink too much during hot conditions. Water, the principal component of our bodies, is the best form of hydration. Drink plenty of it, before and after you run. Be sure to plant water along your route if you plan on doing a long run. Many of us enjoy the refreshment of a cold beer after a summer run. Keep in mind, however, that alcohol will dehydrate you, as will caffeine. Be cautious with both if the temperature is hot.
Seek shade, which can drop the temperature by as much as ten degrees. Try to run early or late, when the rays of the sun are not as direct, and apply a sunscreen that is designed for athletes.
Get to the nearest pool, hose, or ocean when you complete your run, as water will drop your body temperature quickly. Spraying cold water from a garden hose on your legs will refresh them for your next run.
Take advantage of the many quick-drying fabrics available for runners these days, and wear light colored clothing that reflects, rather than absorbs the sun.
Finally, summer is a time to go short and fast. Take a few weeks off from long runs, and concentrate on short, fast workouts.
And, if you feel dizzy, disoriented, or if your body stops producing sweat, these are signs of severe dehydration. Stop immediately, cool down, and drink water.
Summer is a great time of year for runners. By taking a few simple precautions, you can keep your summer running both safe and enjoyable.
**Joe Muldowney has been a competitive runner since 1976, owning a personal best marathon time of 2:22:54. He is a veteran of 54 marathons, 48 under the 3:00 mark, and 12 under 2:30. At age 57, he turned in a marathon time of 2:58:54. Joe has run the Boston Marathon 16 times, and in Personal Best, he writes his account of the events at the tragic 2013 race. Check out his website www.muldowneyrunning.com