Fellow Singaporean runners, you have undoubtedly noticed by now, the mercury soaring over the last several days. According to the National Environment Agency, afternoon temperatures will hit 34 degrees Celsius on several days over the last two weeks of April due to sunny skies and light wind conditions. The only relief will come in the form of afternoon showers with thunderstorms, so with all these in mind, the following advice, here’s how to plan for your runs over the next few weeks.
You’ve probably heard your mother or spouse nagging you on this one, but we will repeat it anyway. Drink plenty of water! As the weather gets warmer, not only do you perspire more, the risk of heat stress during a run increases. Drinking water before and during your run helps prevent dehydration, and serves to cool you down as well. Post-run, continue to drink up, and consider salt tablets to replace the electrolytes lost in your perspiration. Increase your intake of fresh fruits; with their high water content, vitamins and minerals, they make the perfect post-run snack.
Dress for the heat
Unless you’re immune to the pain of chafing, you shouldn’t be wearing cotton T-shirts and shorts during a run, but more so than ever in the heat, it is ideal to be wearing technical fabrics that wick away your perspiration. These dri-fit fabrics are light and breathable, helping you stay cool while you run. Consider a cap or better still, a visor, to cover your face from the sun.
A quick word on caring for your running clothes: it is best to wash your running outfits as soon as possible with cold water and fragrance-free detergent, as bacteria in your perspiration breeds very quickly in the heat, breaking down the technical fibres. If you cannot wash your clothes immediately, hang them out to dry, before putting them in the wash, as this helps to extend the life of your running clothes.
Ideally, the best time to run would be early in the morning, or late in the evening, when the temperatures are cooler and the sun has yet to come up, or has already gone down. If you tend to run in the middle of the day, consider wearing clothing such as sleeves and long pants that protect your skin from direct exposure to the sun.
If wearing long sleeves in the sun isn’t quite your thing, the minimum you should be doing is to apply sunscreen to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays. Re-apply once every 4 hours, and don’t forget to wear sunglasses, as UV rays can damage your eyes, leading to cataracts and other ocular maladies later in life.
Adjust your expectations
Finally, running in the heat is incredibly stressful for the body, and this isn’t the time to be pushing too hard with high intensity runs, especially in the middle of the day. Understand that your performance may be compromised, but that it’s a reflection of environmental circumstances, rather than a true measure of your fitness levels. Continue to train according to feel and effort, and above all, listen to your body! If something doesn’t feel right, slow down and stop if necessary.
Keep running through the heatwave, but run happy and run safe!