“The scorching heat is perfect to run in”, said no one ever. Let’s face it, us Brits are never satisfied with the weather. It’s either too cold or too hot, it’s never just right! With the UK in the midst of a heatwave, that shows no signs of abating, SJ Running has decided to share a 5 tips and information on how to look after yourself in this hot weather.
1. Clothing – lightweight, single layered tops are a must. Anything that has a vent or mesh or is ‘moisture wicking’ i.e. moves water to the outside of the top to prevent it from holding water, is ideal. You don’t need to spend a fortune on these, most are available cheaply.
2. Timing – head out early or later in the evening when the temperatures are cooler. This definitely requires some planning.
3. Hydration – water and sports drinks are a must, not only during the run but before. Make sure you’re hydrating either the day before at least an hour before your run and keep a bottle with you if hitting anything more than 5km in this weather. Sports drinks are better than water during the run but more on this later.
4. Be smart – think about the type of run you’re doing and make adjustments. Try and run on the side of the road with shade, slow down if you must and avoid anything with high intensity if you’ve chosen to go out in the afternoon.
5. Be patient – your body will acclimatise to hot weather but it takes time. It will learn to decrease your heart rate, decrease your core body temperature, and increase your sweat rate.
Now the science-y bit on hydration.
To help cope with the extra stress in the heat, our body sweats. The sweat from our skin helps lower core body temperatures but this naturally leads to fluid loss that needs to be replaced.
The variety of fluids you can stick in your bottle sound more like a superhero’s powers than a simple drink designed to hydrate, replace electrolytes and give you energy on the go. Hypertonic? Hypotonic? Isotonic? The world of sports drinks can be confusing. So what do all the terms mean? What are the benefits of each drink? And what should you be sipping when? We’re glad you asked. Here’s everything you need to know.
Hypotonic drinks – focuses on maximum rehydration as quickly as possible to replace fluids lost. However, it has a lower carbohydrate concentration, meaning they don’t provide maximum energy. An example of such a drink is Lucozade Sport Hydro Active. If using a hypertonic drink on a long run make sure you are carrying an alternative for your energy replacement e.g. a gel.
Hypertonic drinks – are best used as a recovery drink as they provide high level of carbohydrates. However, this means they do not make good use for rehydration as replacement of vital electrolytes is slower. Any soft drink like Lucozade energy or Redbull is a hypertonic drink.
Isotonic drinks – Isotonic drinks are a source of carbohydrates to give you energy as you workout, but also help replace the fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat. Great to have on a run. Examples of Isotonic drinks are Lucozade Sport, Poweraid and Gatorade.