A runner shares why she dislikes running in the heat.
By: Jayme Fisher
“Oh good grief it’s hot out here,” says the child playing soccer on a Saturday afternoon in July. This imaginary child is right, afternoons in the summer are unbearably hot. Over the summer, I began taking up running as a hobby. However, due to my schedule, I could only run in the afternoons.
This essentially means that I was running three to four miles every day in the summer heat. To say it was miserable would be an understatement. Thus, I am going to break down the reasons running in the summer heat is unreasonably uncomfortable and downright horrible.
The first reason I strongly dislike running in the heat is because it is significantly easier to experience dehydration. When we run, our muscles automatically start to heat up and send blood to the surface of our skin to initiate sweating to cool us off. However, prior to even starting the run, you are already sweating because it is extremely hot outside. So, you are more likely to experience dehydration because you are sweating more than you normally do than if you were running in the middle of November.
Runner’s World explains how when we are dehydrated, our blood volume decreases. This means that less blood is getting to our muscles and our hearts are pumping less blood.
As you become dehydrated your blood volume decreases, so even less blood is available to go to your working muscles, and your heart pumps less blood per beat. In turn, it makes running extremely difficult.
Due to the higher risk of dehydration, I have to increase my water consumption and make sure I am getting enough electrolytes to ensure nothing happens to me on my run. The heat is forcing me to purchase sports drinks like Gatorade, Liquid IV or Powerade. These things cost money, so I have to spend more money to run safely in the summer heat.
Another symptom of running in the heat is heat cramps. If you have never experienced a heat cramp, consider yourself lucky. They are so incredibly painful and I would not wish them upon my worst enemy. Towards the end of June, I was going for my run like any other day. However, my route that day was more uphill than it was flat or downhill. Since I was running uphill, I was now using more energy faster as it is more work to get to the top of a hill than it is to get to the bottom.
About two miles into my run, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my calf. Pain that felt like someone was stabbing the muscles in my calves. I stopped immediately and was so shocked by the pain I had to sit down. According to Claudio Piepenburg of Badwater, heat cramps are caused by losing minerals through sweating and dehydration. If you have heat cramps, it’s too late for you to replace the fluids and finish the run.
So, I had to walk back home and recover from the stabbing pain in my calf. I was disappointed that day as I was planning to run six miles, but my heat cramp prevented me from completing the run.
Lastly, running in the heat is terrible because everything is so much hotter. The pavement is hotter, there is less shade, you sweat more and it just makes everything more difficult. You have to prepare by eating a well-balanced meal, drinking the right amount of fluids and usually changing up your running routine to fit the hot weather. And for those reasons, I strongly dislike running in the heat.
Sources: Badwater, Runner’s World