Tips on How to Handle High Heat and Humidity Runs

 

When we run in normal weather, our core body temperature naturally rises, and our sweat glands produce droplets that carry excess heat to the surface of the skin, where it evaporates. But high heat and humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, so the heat stays on. On a hot and humid day, with no breeze, we lose a way to get rid of our build up body heat, which can make our running more dangerous. Once our body heats up and gets more and more dehydrated, it goes into survival mode, maintaining blood flow to our essential organs (to keep us alive) and to our skin (to regulate temperature). Less blood will flow to our GI tract, which will affect the digestion of our sports drinks and gels, and it might make us feel nauseous. When our body is overheating, we can also get some side stitches, which is also due to our breathing becoming shallow and uneven. Another side effect of running in heat and humidity, is our heart rate escalating due to lack of oxygen, our lungs have to overwork to deliver oxygen throughout our body.

 

If we keep running in the high heat and humidity, our brain temperature will rise, which causes intense side effects. Our ability to assess our own body temperature will be difficult, we can start feeling chilled and getting goosebumps once we’re overheating. We can start to lose control over the body mechanics, our running form and footsteps, and our mental abilities may start to break down. We can start to feel very dizzy and disoriented. Our body temperature can spike in minutes. Any level of runners can be highly affected by heat and humidity. Competitive runners may be more prone to heat-related illnesses because the faster we run, the more body heat we generate. So running at our normal pace will feel very difficult. Feeling sluggish on a super-hot day doesn’t mean that we lack fitness or mental toughness, it’s our body responding to a stressful environment. Some runners lose more sodium than others, so consuming enough electrolytes according to our body type is essential.

 

Side Effect of Running in the Heat

  • Dehydration can lead to many internal issue, so we have to make sure we consume electrolytes.
  • If we feel dizzy or nauseous, we should stop to rehydrate, refuel and rest.
  • We have to remember that it can take 2-3 weeks to adapt to higher heat and humidity, so we should tolerate a slower pace and less distance.
  • People’s body type reacts differently to high heat and humidity. It can affect some runners more and others. So we should listen to our body type.

 

Tips to Run in the Heat

  1. Focus on running effort, not pace- Running in high heat, we need to avoid targeting our normal fast pace. This could cause several health issues, we have to focus on the running effort, how hard it feels.
  2. Appreciate running in a breeze- It is very common that early in the morning there is no breeze, which affects our oxygenation intensely. So changing our morning run to evening run occasionally, might be very helpful in high heat and humidity.
  3. Have access to some ice water- Consuming some cold water, or having access to cold water to splash some water on our face or neck and head will help to bring our core temperature down.
  4. Shade our face- Shading our face and eyes lowers the impact of the high heat. But wearing a regular cap will trap the heat under the cap, affecting our body heat. To wear visor is safer, it allows the head to release heat, or a cap that has a mesh top and back can be safe. To use a cold cap, soak it the night before and place it in the freezer, to wear and icy cap to start a hot run can be helpful.
  5. Wear sunglasses- Sunglasses will protect not only your eyes, but also your brain. When we run exposed to sun, our eyes squint, and our brain has to work hard and use lots of energy to help save our eyes. Wearing a visor or sunglasses will help relax the face and the eyes, and avoid overusing brain energy.
  6. Look for courses with shade- Try to plan to run on routes that have as much shade as possible, it makes a huge difference in helping our body not to overheat extremely. If your planning on doing a long run, to start early in the morning before the sun rise can help. The feeling of the strong sun on our arms, legs, and face can make our run much harder.
  7. Pre-run caffeine- Studies have shown that consuming caffeine prior to a run can improve our performance without impacting hydration. So enjoy a morning coffee, especially iced coffee or latte during the summer.
  8. Wear lightweight running clothes- To find the proper running gear for high heat and humidity runs is essential. Finding the right brands that use light, dry fit fabrics, to wear tank tops, light shorts can help our body release heat and sweat.
  9. Don’t forget to smile- To smile while we run can make us feel so much better, it activates more positive thoughts and feelings to support the more negative heat impact on our body.
  10. Consume electrolytes- To have access to electrolytes will support our intense hot runs. Electrolytes are essential when running in high heat and humidity for more than 60-90 minutes.
  • We need to take sips every 1.5-2K according to our running course and elevation.
  • Drinking too much high carb drinks while we run in the heat, can cause some stomach issue.
  • We need to drink pre-run.
  • We need to drink and rehydrate post-run to avoid any stomach issues.

Running in high heat and humidity even at a slower pace, will increase our performance. Training in the heat is an intense endurance training session, once we start running in cooler weather, our performance level will be much higher.

Hydrate, Pace Yourself, Enjoy Running and Training in the Heat!

KATIA

Hip Mobility Exercises to Improve Running Form- Part 2

 

Runners need to focus on many different exercises and stretches to support a proper running form and avoid injuries. We need to make sure we perform pre-run dynamic warm ups, post-run static stretches, cross training, strength training, core training, and also to include mobility exercises, especially for hip mobility.

 

Mobility exercises are designed to improve functional range of motion in joints, muscles and surrounding fascia to balance strength and flexibility. If our hips are too tight, we tend to rotate them with each step, which creates torque on the knees and leads to pain. Another side effect of tight hips is the inability to extend our back kick to create optimal force against the ground speed.

 

Perfect Squat- Simple Exercise to Test our Hip Mobility

 

  • Feet hip width apart
  • Weight evenly distributed through feet
  • Butt pushing backward
  • Back straight, chest and shoulders up
  • Knees remain in line with feet – if they fall outside your toes don’t go any farther down
  • Work to squat down with your bum below knees (all of the above still correct)

 

If we try to perform a good squat, but we struggle to squat down, those are symptoms of lack of hip mobility. If we can’t perform a squat by following the proper form and movements, those are signs of hip issues. Once we increase our hip mobility, we have a better range of motion, and we can get into a squat with great energy directed into the squat movement.

 

Mobility exercises make us more aware of our body and our range of motion, which leads to better running form and less injuries.

Runners’ hips are notoriously tight and we often use them only in a straight forward motion. The hip mobility exercises help to increase range of motion in the joint and can loosen up tight areas.

 

6 Hip Mobility Exercises

 

These exercises you can improve our hip mobility quickly. Some exercises are easy to incorporate in our warm up, while others are perfect to add to our recovery routine. These hip mobility exercises for runners just take a few minutes to perform, but as always provide great results.

 

  1. Standing Figure 8
    Standing on your right leg, bring your left knee up to 90 degrees and then move it through figure 8 motion. You need to work the hip in multiple different planes of motion.

 

  1. Single Leg Rotation- Hurdle Step
    Swing your left leg up and over, then bring your right leg over. Repeat reverse and make sure you bring your leg up high.

 

  1. Frog Pose Stretch
    Start with both knees wider than your yoga mat and your legs straight behind you (no pulling the feet together like child’s pose). Slowly push back and you should feel the stretch through your inner thigh, if not try legs wider or ensure your legs are straight.

 

  1. Pigeon Pose
    This is one of the ultimate moves for working into our hips, glutes and IT Band. From a plank position, pull your right knee in to your chest then to the ground with your foot angled towards your opposite hip. Make sure your hips are remaining square to the front of your mat (no leaning to one side). Then if you need more stretch, lean forward over your foot.

 

  1. TFL Roll
    TFL is a common overlooked muscle. Your TFL release doesn’t work as well with a foam roller, you need a small PT ball (physio ball). Place the ball just behind the hip bone on the side, and slowly roll it around. This muscle helps to keep your hips and pelvis stable. This is a good one for reducing hip pain that often we are not aware of.

 

  1. Foam Roller Rotation
    To achieve your mobility goal, instead of just rolling back and forth, you work into the muscles. Laying on your right side with your hip on the foam roller, first have your foot pointing forward and then slowing rotate that foot towards the sky. Keep rotating your foot and switch side.

 

Our whole body mobility is also very important, but first we need to focus on the area which is less mobile, flexible and very tight.

Hip Mobility Exercises Video: https://vimeo.com/428911654

Better Hip Mobility, Better Running Form, More Endurance and Speed!

KATIA

 

 

Mobility VS Flexibility for Runners- Part 1

 

As runners, we need to perform pre-run dynamic warm ups and post-run stretches to support good flexibility. Mobility is another important factor for runners to support good running form and avoid muscle and joint tightness to prevent injuries. Runners need to add both flexibility and mobility exercises to support muscles and joints health for a life-long good running form.

 

Mobility is Active

Mobility is the active movement of a joint through a good range of motion without restriction of pain or assistance from a tendon or ligament. Mobility is similar to a door. A door is attached to a frame, and moves open and close supported by hinges. The door only has a certain range of motion, opens and closes to a certain point, that is a full range of motion. Let’s say we put a door stopper on the door so that it can’t close fully, if we attach a rubber band to the door knob and try to pull the door and close with the rubber band, it will snap and break.

 

The same can happen with our body when we don’t have a full range of motion, and our tendons need to move in strange ways to get unstuck. That is one common issue with Achilles injuries.

 

Flexibility is Passive

The passive range of motion movement involves stretching muscles using external force, like a strap, gravity or a physio therapist. Flexibility refers to connective tissue, like muscles, ligaments and tendons. On the other hand, mobility is about the ability of a muscle to move through its full range at the joint. If mobility is like a door opening, then flexibility is like pulling the rubber band.

 

We can be flexible, but not mobile. Flexibility is just one part of mobility. Strength, coordination and soft tissue performance are other components of mobility.

 

With our daily life schedule, work schedule, many runners have to spend many hours sitting at their desk at work. The body gets used to that position and causes some muscle issues when we want to move. It causes muscle tightness, that’s why doing regular hip flexor stretches is very important. But those stretches are just part of that combination of flexibility and mobility. Now we know that we can’t only focus on muscle release, but also work through a full range of motion.

 

Side Effects of Lack of Mobility

  • Injuries due to a change in running form (tight hips cause rotation as we work on speed
  • Reduced speed due to limited range of motion
  • Compression and strain on the joints or muscles
  • Inability to improve running performance

It is important to maintain mobility, especially as we get older. For master runners, muscles tend to lose elasticity, causing more stiffer bodies and a decline in balance.

 

Mobility Test

Mobility moves require continuous movement, which build strength at the end of range of motion. Which means less  injuries for runners, with a better range of motion, we can push off the ground our muscles that are not tight, and we can move more efficiently.

Testing the moves on the chart will help to see what is tight or lacking in full range of motion if you’re not able to do the movement, or need to spend more time working on the movement.

Specific Body Areas Responsible for Mobility

  • Ankles- Force production and correct alignment of the leg.
  • Knees- Improve joint lubrication.
  • Hips- Better stride and reduced twisting of torso causing injuries.
  • Spine- Standing tall for better breathing and prevents rotation.
  • Shoulders- We need to use our arms for proper running form.

Without full range of motion in these joints, our performance will be affected. Mobility incorporates a variety of exercises that strengthen the smaller and weaker muscles around the joints that normal strength training does not include.

Performing these 4 mobility exercises workout will make a huge difference in the running performance.

  • Frog Pose
  • Pigeon Pose with Movement
  • Deep squat Rotation
  • 90/90 Forward-Lateral Fold

Mobility Exercises Video

http://https://vimeo.com/428906145

Improve Your Mobility, Feel Great, Run Forever!

KATIA

Benefits of Unilateral (Single Leg- Single Arm) Exercises for Runners

 

Unilateral training is performing exercises on one side, such as single leg, or single arm, side plank. Our body is always figuring out ways to compensate for a lack of certain muscles or ranges of motion to achieve the desired move. Running is an extremely repetitive activity, especially road running. Our body tends to do small compensation to allow our hips, knees, and ankles to flex and extend in the running stride, and it tends to be magnified with increases in training volume. This can be caused by some weakness/muscle inhibition on one side of the body, which may force the other side of the body to work harder to compensate. Even if we tend to have a proper running form or stride, certain muscles and tendons may be working overtime to support inactive, weaker muscles. When we perform double leg exercises, like squats or even running, the weaker side of the body or muscles, the stronger side or stronger muscles have to work harder to support the weaker ones. Our double leg exercises might look balanced, but once we start doing some single leg, or single arm exercises, then we realize that some of our muscles on one side are weaker than others.

 

What can cause some muscle or tendon issues or injuries, is that over time, the stronger side may start to get tired from overuse and start to recruit other muscles and tendons that normally should not be supporting your training. For example, your knees are activated to try and stabilize your hips instead of your glutes. The running form might look balanced for a while but over the long term training, it can cause some serious injuries.

 

Performing unilateral exercises can expose weak muscles, help to identify asymmetries in the body so we can start to fix our muscle imbalances. Unilateral exercises can help to fix some injuries, but also prevent injuries. If we have any muscle or tendon issues, physio therapists will always recommend unilateral exercises to provide muscle repair and strengthening. When we have some weaker muscles on one side than the other, they tend to get disconnected from our brain. By performing unilateral exercises, we reconnect those weak muscles to our brain. Even when we run long-distances, once we get more tired, some muscles, especially glutes, tend to shut down and disconnect from our brain. To reactivate and reconnect our glutes regularly while we run, can help with our endurance, strength and performance, as well as preventing injuries.

 

Benefits of Unilateral Exercises for Runners

  • Correct and reduce imbalances that could cause injuries
  • Build core stability
  • Build functional strength
  • Improve your proprioception and mind-body connection

 

Unilateral exercises force each side to work and strengthen independently, which can help correct imbalances. When we work on each side independently, our stronger more dominant side muscles can’t compensate and take over. When we perform bilateral moves (squats, bridge, both arms strength exercises), we can compensate, we can rely on our dominant side. This will create imbalances which can lead to injuries. If we don’t strengthen our weaker side or underactive muscles, we can get some intense aches and pain on both side of our body.

All the unilateral exercises can improve our balance, core stability and mind-body connection. Standing on one foot, or loading on one side like a side plank, or perform single arm row or single arm press up adds in an element of instability, which challenges our core. Standing on one foot, we activate all those stabilizing muscles that will improve our balance. When performing unilateral exercises, we have to focus on our weaker muscles, we can add a few extra reps on the weaker side to help those muscles get as strong as the other side.

 

Performing these unilateral exercises will help prevent injuries, truly fix our running form, increase our strength, and running speed and performance.

 

Unilateral Exercises for Runners

Leg Exercises:

  • Single-Leg Deadlift
  • Single-Leg Squat
  • Single-Leg Bridge
  • Single-Leg Hop
  • Single-Leg Box Jump
  • Single-Leg Wall Sit
  • Fire Hydrant

Arm Exercises:

  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Press Up
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Bicep Curl
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension
  • Single-Arm Resistance Band Power Pull

Core Exercises:

  • Side Plank
  • Side Plank Star (leg lift)
  • Side Plank Hip Dip
  • Plank Shoulder Tap
  • Plank Single-Arm Dumbbell Row Rotation Press Up
  • Single-Leg Push Ups
  • Plank Opposite Arm and Leg Lift

Perform 15 reps or 30 seconds for each exercise/each side 2-3 sets.

Perform Single Muscle Exercises, Balance the Body, Run Stronger!

KATIA