The biggest marathon races in India are scheduled during the autumn and winter season because the Indian summers can be draining, says Nandini Reddy.
Summer a big dampener for marathon runners in India. The soaring temperatures play spoilsport for runners to train or run marathons during the summer season. High temperatures and humidity levels hurt running performance. But if you still do not want to completely give up on your training during the summers then there are a few precautions you need to take to ensure that you stay healthy as the temperature soars.
The one big advantage will be that if you train successfully during the summer, you will ace your autumn marathons.
Running in summer means you need to understand how your body is affected by the high temperature, humidity and exposure to the sun. The high temperature will raise your core temperature quickly and you will get exhausted faster. High humidity levels will prevent your body from cooling down faster because sweat doesn’t evapourate easily under humid conditions. Even if the weather is dry it is harmful because it will lead to dehydration. While these may sound a bit discouraging, one can overcome these issues by just running a it slower.
Risks of summer running
Running in summer comes with its own set of risks. Feeling nauseous and getting headaches is normal when you run in hot weather but aside from this there are a few serious conditions that you might have to be cautious about, such as
If you are feeling dizzy, fatigued or disoriented then you might be experiencing dehydration. The first symptom will be a dry mouth and a thirst you cannot quench. Ensure you always hydrate before a run and ensure you carry a bottle of water while you run. But if the symptoms persist then get inside and, rest and rehydrate.
A high body core temperature of nearly 104F combined with dehydration is what causes exhaustion. Nausea and headaches are the first symptoms. If you feel any of these conditions then you need to stop immediately. Get out of the sun, cool your body and drink plenty of water and electrolytes.
You loose fluids faster in summer and this can lead to muscle spasms. You may not feel anything while you run but are likely to experience cramps after your run. The idea of stay hydrated and replenish lost electrolytes and nutrients.
The most serious medical condition you will encounter is the heat stroke. This is the condition after heat exhaustion and is coupled with symptoms of confusion, poor balance and clumsiness. You body core temperature would have crossed 105F in this case and an ice bath is essential. Seeking medical attention immediately is paramount.
How to train in Summer?
- Try and run in shaded paths if you are running late mornings or early evenings
- Do not try to best your timings as you need to train slower
- Wear dri-fit clothes and lighter shades
- Hydrate before you run and after you run. Carry a bottle of water if you are running longer than 60 mins.
- Try and run at dawn which is the coolest time of the day
- Understand your body’s effort during summer and do not focus on pace
- Listen to your body and stop running if you are uncomfortable
Despite the disadvantages, running in summer will make you a more efficient runner. You learn to adapt to extreme conditions and you perform better in cooler weather.