Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Running

It's July and the summer running season is, now, in full-swing. We have longer days, less rain, blue skies and warmer temperatures. Getting outside in this weather can do wonders for the psyche and provide the grounds for some great training. It's easy, however, to lose sight of some important factors to making each and every run in this beautiful weather safe and comfortable.

1. Hydration - Pre- and Post-run hydration are just as important as staying hydrated throughout the run. Starting a run dehydrated is dangerous and the higher the temperatures the more higher the risk of heat-related injuries. It's not just about water ingestion. In fact, too much water ingestion, known medically as hyponatremia, can be just as serious as not enough. A good way to maintain a balance is to add electrolytes to your drinking water and switch back-and-forth between . Products such as NUUN, Heed by Hammer Nutrition, GU Brew provide you, the athlete, with the appropriate amount of essential electrolytes

2. Apparel Selection - When fabric, particularly cotton, saturates with sweat it can leave your body chaffed and unable to cool itself off quickly enough. The build-up of heat can lead to an increased rate of dehydration and place added stress on the body. Wearing moisture wicking fabrics will help your body stay cool even when the outside temperature continually rises. And we're not just talking about t-shirts and shorts, but socks and hats, too. Whether it's Feetures! socks, Louis Garneau shirts, The North Face shorts, or a Brooks hat, moisture-wicking fabrics (found in all apparel at The Balanced Athlete) will ensure a positive heat and moisture transfer from your skin to the air, thus keeping your built-in air-conditioning system working smoothly.

3. Sun Protection - Soaking up the rays, tan lines, and an increase in vitamin-D levels can only mean one thing: the sun is out. As with anything, though, too much of a good thing can be trouble. Endurance athletes spend a majority of their training outdoors and in the elements, exposing themselves to harmful sun rays more than most. Skin cancer is no joke, nor should protecting yourself be. Wearing a brimmed hat, long sleeves (moisture-wicking, of course), and sunscreen can keep you and your skin safe.

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