It’s Gettin’ Hot (and Humid) in Here!


I am not a huge fan of running outdoors in the summertime. In the South, the humidity will suck the life right out of you – and then some. However, sometimes it is unavoidable when I coach clients and it is definitely preferable to running on the treadmill all summer long.

Having been in this running business for awhile now, there are definite ways to ease the summer suckfest, starting with acclimatization. It’s also wise to hydrate properly, exercise in the early morning whenever possible, and recognize the warning signs for heat illness:

Heat CrampsSymptoms: Painful muscle spasms (often in calves), sweating, and normal body temperature. What to do: Replenish with fluids with electrolytes and gently massage cramped muscles.

Heat ExhaustionSymptoms: Profuse sweating, drop in blood pressure, normal or slightly elevated body temperature, fatigue, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, severe headache, decreased coordination and staggering, increased heart rate (above 100 beats per minute), and fainting. What to do: Seek a cool and shaded area and apply cold compresses to groin, underarms, and neck. Apply cool water to skin surface, as tolerated. Avoid physical activity for 24 hours and drink adequate fluids during that time.

Heat StrokeSymptoms: High body temperature, altered consciousness, and dry skin due to lack of sweating. What to do: Call 911, apply cold compress to groin, underarms, and neck. Apply cool water to skin surface, as tolerated.

Remember to run smart in the summertime and be sure to check out more of my tips for summer running in the June issue of Atlanta InTown Magazine!

Feel free to contact me for more information on staying healthy while running in the heat!

2 thoughts on “It’s Gettin’ Hot (and Humid) in Here!

  1. Jessica at says:

    Great cautions and tips here, Sherry! I’ve often worn a cold, wet bandana (or some similar fabric) around my neck when it’s super-hot-humid out. It’s like a preventive cold compress. 😉

    What’s your favorite drink or snack for garden-variety rehydration/recovery?

  2. divasrun says:

    The best rehydration is plain water, especially if you’re running less than an hour. The body is 60% water so replenishing it with the same is ideal. For runs more than an hour, a little bit of electrolyte is fine but be careful about what is in the sports drink, i.e., how much sugar. My GI system does not handle the sugar well so I stick with water unless I am REALLY dehydrated and runs about 6-7 miles. Anything less I’m just adding unnecessary calories back in but anything too much more than that gives me stomach cramps. Bananas are great snacks b/c you replenish the potassium that you sweat out. I’m a huge fan of the Justin’s Nut Butter packs or a PB&J sandwich for post really long runs (>1 hour). A good tip for summer runs also is to freeze your water bottle the night before so it stays nice and cold as it melts.

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