If you look outside behind me, you can see it is summer. It’s hot outside, super hot, it’s getting to you. So, you’ve gone out for your long run, and you’ve come back, and you’re actually shivering. And you’re wondering what’s going on? Well, that’s what I’m going to tell you on today’s episode of Runner’s High.
As with any of these episodes, where we talk about health issues, it’s always good to remember I am not a doctor or a licensed professional in a health field. So, know that I’m trying to present information the best I can, but do not take my word as the be-all-end-all. Now, that being said, as far as I’m aware, especially when you are shivering, because it has been hot outside and you’ve gone out for a run, most likely you or your buddy, if this is happening with them is suffering from heat exhaustion.
I know it seems really counterintuitive to think it’s super hot. And so we’re shivering. We usually associate that with the cold, right? We should really warm ourselves up. But this is a symptom of heat exhaustion.
Now, if you’re shivering, and it’s been a normal kind of temperature day, or you got done racing and is not hot, that can be something entirely different. I will cover that in another video. So, leave me a comment down below, let me know, you want to see that in another video to figure out what exactly is going on. Because there’s a few other things that can happen on a normal day.
But here, we’re talking specifically about a hot day. And on a hot day, if you have heat exhaustion, there are other symptoms that often go along with dehydration. And that’s really a symptom, dehydration, lack of sweating, headache, muscle cramps, sometimes you can even vomit.
There are other things associated with this heat exhaustion. But the big thing is, you need to treat it as fast as you can so it doesn’t progress and become worse. Treatment’s relatively straightforward. Get inside, get in the shade, somewhere where it’s cool to let your body temperature come down. Another option is to get in a cool shower. Don’t go cold, just get in a cool shower, you’re slowly trying to bring your body temperature down. You also want to try to start getting fluids in as soon as you can.
But this is a big, big thing and something we saw a lot at Boy Scout camp if I can harken back to when I was young. If you get heat exhaustion, or you’re really dehydrated, the temptation is to just start chugging water.
Do not do that. Your body will just flush that out. It won’t absorb it in the way that it would if you take small sips. And your brain is so so gonna want that water. But you have to be patient, you have to be dedicated to taking small sips, letting your body absorb that water, and giving it time to take it in, instead of basically telling your body to just flush it all and then you haven’t absorbed that water and rehydrated your system.
So, know that that’s going to be the toughest part of your kind of recovery in this moment is slowly taking in that water. Be patient with yourself, know that you’ve got to do that. Or if you’re overseeing that friend, give him water every few minutes just to sip. Make sure they’re not taking those gulps. Very, very important that you follow that.
Keep in mind, if you’re suffering from heat exhaustion, you are probably going to be even more sensitive to heat in that temperature for a week or so. Which means you just need to take care of yourself. So, either plan on going early in the morning, shortening your runs, or the best option really just take a few days off, give your body a break.
Get back at it. Consistency is key and I talk about that a lot here on this channel. Subscribe, hit that button in the bottom right hand corner if you don’t -- you haven’t seen my other videos. But when you kind of run into a potential injurious or health related situation like this, it’s easier long term you take a little time off. Don’t dig yourself into a farther hole.
So, a couple days isn’t gonna make or break your season. Take that time, then get back to it. But know you’re going to be more sensitive to the temperature immediately after this situation, so you need to recover. The easiest thing really is to prevent this from happening in the first place. I’ve got a few tips on how to do that. Of the few tips that I’ve got for you, we’re going to go through the first few quick and then go a little more on the last one.
So, number one, if you’re taking caffeine before you go run, quit it. Yeah, we know that caffeine can help some performance when you’re going out for a long run or going out to race. But caffeine can also act as a diuretic. Meaning, it’s going to flush water out of your system. So, when your system already needs water and it’s getting taxed by the heat. Adding that caffeine can only make the situation worse. So, eliminate that caffeine, you don’t have to worry about that.
Number two, you can preload, electrolytes and water the day before your event. Now, I say event, but it could just be training, it could be a race. But if you know, like, for me, Mondays are my long runs, where I’m going out for somewhere between 10 and 13 miles. I know Sunday, after my long bike, I need to preload those electrolytes in my water so that I’m not dehydrated or don’t get dehydrated. on that Monday long run.
You can take up to 1,500 milligrams as a suggestion by my friend Dr. Todd Buckingham the day before to preload those electrolytes. That’ll help you retain water, which means you’re going to be a little more resilient in the heat. If you want more of Todd’s suggestions, subscribe to the channel as always, but check out my interview with him, Episode 29 on the Smart Athlete Podcast here in a minute.
The third and fourth suggestions really should be the obvious ones, but I’m going to give them to you anyway, just in case we haven’t covered them. Number three, don’t go out when it’s hot. You know, plan your day around going out early. Sometimes that means setting an alarm clock, getting up earlier than before to avoid the heat. Now, I live in Kansas City so we get plenty of heat and humidity here. But I also know that there are places where it’s simply hot all the time, in the summer, even hotter than here, even though it's dry heat. I know you’re gonna give me that argument. But the idea is you’re going to avoid the heat of the day.
If you’re one of these people I see running out at three in the afternoon in the hottest part of the day, then shame on you. Quit it. Stop doing that. Get up in the morning, early, early, early, get it done before things become an issue. And really, that leads me to my fourth one. And now both of these all have to do with planning and that’s taking in fluids during your run. That means probably, like in my case, if I’m doing that longer on Monday 10 to 13 miles, I’m going to be making two three-mile loops around a course near my house so I can stop, get water and then continue on.
Instead of doing a long out and back where I’m kind of just SOL, if I don’t have any sources of water. You may be fortunate, be in a park system with water fountains and something like that you can do an out back, but not all of us are. So, plan on having water available and going earlier in the morning, then you know when the heat of the day is going to be
Of course there’s always heat acclimation to talk about but heat acclimation is a completely different video, different topic for another day. As far as figuring out how much water you need to be taking in, you have to figure out what your sweat rate is. Fortunately, I’ve already done another video on sweat rate, so you can figure out for you in particular exactly how much water you’re losing per hour and how much you need to replenish. So, check out that video, should be popping up on the screen here shortly, just click on that. It’ll take you right over. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.