Summer running is upon us! Are you excited? I am because I love summer running (and winter running and spring running and fall running, too). Okay, I just love running.
Most of the time when we talk about running safety, we’re talking about being visible in low light condition to avoid being hit by a car, or not running solo in desolate areas to avoid being attacked (or worse). Those are 100 percent super important and please be safe. But today, we’re talking about safety in terms of reading your body’s signals and assessing the weather.
I was running in Florida a few days ago and realized I need to consider running in EXTREME weather conditions a potential danger, as well. I was visiting family in southern Florida and the weather report came in that it ‘feels like’ 91 degrees with 100 percent humidity. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.
Florida does not mess around!
It is difficult to run in that weather, but I can still do it. I have a lot of stamina from my training base and can do 10 miles at a time, no problemo. So I set out morning after morning and got completely drenched in sweat and salt and bugs (another obstacle to Florida running). I complained a little but, still chugged along.
On Saturday, my normal long run day, I set out for 14 miles when I realized this could potentially be dangerous. I have run over 20 full marathons, so I am comfortable being uncomfortable while running. I can keep going when I’m tired or super hot or thirsty or all of the above. However, that doesn’t mean I should; especially in extreme conditions that aren’t going to result in a PR.
It was just a training run and I knew the weather was in the danger zone. Since I live in a very different climate from what I was running in on Saturday, it occurred to me that I could run myself to a point of dehydration or over-heating. It’s hard for my body to read since I’m not used to this humidity.
I realized that I felt super hot and thirsty. I was running along and realized it would be hard for me to tell if I was over-heating. So, I decided to cut it a few miles short. I think if I got used to it over the course of a longer period I would be fine, but I decided to be safe over sorry and call it a day.
In extreme conditions you should stay aware of how your feel—your energy, thirst, skin and mental state (are you so cold or hot that you’re not thinking clearly)—and anything else that can impact your health and safety.