Hydrating Properly in Hot Weather – A Must Read for Runners

As one trains for an upcoming race (1/2 or full Marathon, 1/2 or Full Ironman, or duathlon) or goes out for a run as part of their exercise routine

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

during this hot Chicago summer, it is important to remember to hydrate to avoid these common conditions.  One can sweat up to 1.5 liters per hour (causing a possible maximum loss of 10-15 liters in a 24 hour period) depending on how fast and long they are running for in these extremely hot and humid temperatures.  Acclimatization of a runner is critical to the environment in which they are running.  Typically, it takes 10-14 days to acclimatize, but if one does not have that time to acclimate, then one should consider running shorter distances or at a slower pace depending on the weather.  This will depict common heat-related illnesses that you need to be aware of and what you can do to avoid this from happening to you or someone you know.

Heat Cramps

  • Typically develops suddenly where one has ran for long periods/stretches
  • Often occurs in the calf, thigh, or abdominal muscles
  • Caused by heavy sweating in high humidity with the athlete losing Sodium (Na+), thus needing energy drinks that contain Na+

Heat Syncope

  • More serious heat-related illness where the runner loses consciousness and immediately stops exercising
  • This loss of consciousness occurs as a result of maximum dilation of the blood vessels in the runner
  • The blood pools in the arms and lower legs/feet, leading to light-headedness or fainting

Heat Exhaustion

  • Form of shock where the core body temperature approaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit (but is less) because of water depletion in hot weather
  • Typical onset can vary from a few hours to a few days
  • Common signs and symptoms include, but not limited to: profuse sweating, dizziness, weakness, headache, and nausea

Heat Stroke

  • True Medical Emergency (Call 911)!
  • Core body temperature at or above 104 degrees and sweating stops because of reduced output of the heart to pump blood
  • Mental state changes occur resulting in giddiness, delirium, etc…
  • Hot, red, dry skin (although about 50% of these individuals profusely sweat)
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Proper Course of Treatment

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! 

It cannot be stressed enough that hydrating and drinking water frequently in hot and humid weather conditions keeps your core body temperature down and minimizes the risk of heat-related illnesses.  Also, removing excess clothing, and moving to a cooler environment as quickly as possible will aid in recovery.

I have included guidelines for replenishing fluids/hydrating as recommended by fellow colleague Dr. Doug Anderson.  These provide a great perspective to the recreational athlete, weekend warrior, or elite athlete as he/she prepares for an upcoming race.

Day Before Race 1/4 oz water per pound of body weight divided evenly throughout the day (multiply your body weight by .25)
4 hours Before Race 1 oz of sport drink per 10 lbs. of body weight (divide body weight by 10)
3 hours Before Race 1 oz of sport drink per 10 lbs. of body weight
2 hours Before Race 1 oz of sport drink per 10 lbs. of body weight
1 hour Before Race 1 oz of Water per 10 lbs. of body weight
During Race Sports drink (of your choice)-consume as much as you are comfortable with
Recovery (Following Race) Water or Sports drink if race is run within 24 hours at 16 oz per lb. of body weight lost

Brian Marion, DC, CCSP, ART, CKTP

Lincoln Park Chiropractic & Sports Associates 2202 N. Lincoln Ave Ste 1 Chicago, IL 60614

(773) 248-2790 | www.lincolnparkchiropractic.com

Write a Comment

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Send us a note

Feel Free to Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.