I read an article today from Active.com about the questions to ask yourself before going on a run in warm weather. The more I think about how I got sick early Monday morning, the more I think it was some sort of mild heat exhaustion, so this article caught my attention.
William Roberts, M.D., medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis-St. Paul, points out that the actual temperature is only a small part of the heat stroke equation. He has seen cases of heatstroke at 50 degrees and there have been marathons in Rio de Janeiro without any problems.
Dr. Roberts offers this checklist to determine if you’re ready to run in the heat. If you answer “no” to any of questions 1 through 6 or “yes” to question 7, Dr. Roberts advises either exercising indoors or keeping your run very short and very easy.
1. Are you acclimatized—have you been in similar temperatures during the last two weeks?
2. Are you well rested (having gotten at least seven hours of sleep last night), and have you been in cooled/air-conditioned environments for some part of the last 24 hours?
3. Are you hydrated? (If you are hydrated, your urine will be pale yellow in color. If it is dark like apple juice, you’re dehydrated.)
4. Are you healthy—no recent illnesses?
5. Are you well nourished?
6. Have you avoided alcohol in the last 24 hours?
7. Are you taking medications with ephedrine or other prescription medicines that might interfere with your thermal regulation (information you can find in the literature that comes with the medication or get from a pharmacist)?
Make sure to take care of yourself in the heat! Last weekend I ran in the early morning to avoid the heat, but managed to still spend much of my days out in the sun. I stayed hydrated, but I think the heat still wiped me out. Hopefully I learned my lesson!