Now that August has arrived, it’s time to brace ourselves for running on some of the hottest days of the year.
The heat can make an easy run seem a little tougher, and can make a tough run truly miserable, but with some preparation and modifications summer is a great time to run.
Although the race calendar gets a bit sparse, there are still races in August.
Outriggers 5K on the Bay traditionally takes place the first weekend in August, starting at the Outriggers bar in Seabrook.
Later in the month, the Hope for a Hero 5K hits its stride along the Galveston seawall, and the month finishes with the zany Beneezy Purple Monkey Fun Run on Aug. 30.
Whether you’re running in one of these races or taking a spin around the block, the most important preparatory step in hot weather is to stay hydrated.
The Road Runners Club of America recommends “pre-hydrating” before a run with 10-15 ounces of water or sports drink before running, then replenishing every 20-30 minutes.
During a long run, it’s crucial to keep drinking at regular intervals, because thirst is not necessarily an indicator of hydration level.
Warning signs of dehydration include headache, dizziness or swollen fingers. Any of these symptoms mean that it’s time for a water break immediately.
Knowing the conditions before heading out on a run helps in planning, and one of the best tools is a chart developed by the National Weather Service, available online at www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/
It correlates temperature and humidity to safe, caution and danger zones.
For example, an air temperature of 90 degrees with a humidity level of 65 percent, (Galveston County’s average humidity in August) is in the “extreme caution” zone, but bumping the temperature up to 92 at the same humidity crosses the line to the “danger” zone.
Summer runners can also take a cue from race directors who produce summer runs.
Most of them offer sponges or towels soaked in ice water for a cooling finish.