The UK population loves a dose of sunshine. It's so rare that we get a consistent blast of vitamin D so everyone turns out in their droves. Perhaps the knotted hankie isn't the fashion statement you will be making this year, but it's important to remember your sun sense.However, with literally hundreds of running events across the country this year, anyone who signed up months ago will be worryied about completing their challenge without burning up. Whether you are attempting a 5k or a 50-mile challenge, the principles remain the same. Here are some of the dangers and also some tips on how to stay cool when the race hots up.
1. DEHYDRATIONThe most obvious danger is when you sweat more than you drink. This can leave you feeling dizzy, extra tired and if it becomes severe, disorientated. Tip: Make sure you are fully hydrated an hour before the race begins and drink water and replacement drinks as soon as you finish. Keep topping up with sips along the route. Freeze a bottle of water to hold, sip and squirt on yourself occasionally. N.B. Don't worry about needing the toilet along the way because there are usually plenty of stops available and it's more important to stay hydrated.
2. HEAT CRAMPSMuscle spasms can be very painful if untreated. They are caused by reduced levels of electrolytes and muscle dehydration. Tip: Cramp can be easily remedied by drinking plenty of water and electrolyte drinks. The right clothing can also help alleviate this problem, such as KYMIRA Sport's range of performance baselayers . These add to the much-enjoyed compression by giving you a good dose of infrared following your run.
N.B. The special fabric provides pain relief and also speeds up muscle recovery by increasing circulation and delivering much-needed nutrients where they are required most.
3. SUNBURNThis can be very painful and can lead to blistering and scarring, as well as long-term skin damage and even skin cancer! Tip: You could follow the Aussie motto of slip, slop, slap - reminding you to slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen and slap on a hat. These three things will give you the best chance of avoiding sunburn and overheating under the blaze of the scorching sun.
4. DANGER! HEAT STROKEUnless you are acclimatised to high temperatures you may find your body is unable to maintain a temperature of below 105 degrees. Headache or nausea are signs of heat exhaustion. However, if you stop sweating, feel disorientated, unbalanced or confused then you must get immediate medical attention to become cooled quickly. N.B. You may be able to avoid heat stroke if you run early or late in the day. Tip: If you experience heat exhaustion or heatstroke stop running immediately and get out of the sun. If you are able to find somewhere air-conditioned that will cool you down faster, or take a cool bath. Shade and plenty of cool drinks are essential and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
ConclusionRunning in the heat increases the calories you burn. This may be one of your goals but you need to strike a healthy balance to ensure you make it to the finish line, not the hospital!
Please note this is general advice and you should always seek medical advice.