We all have heard the phrase "pain is weakness leaving the body". I hate this phrase. While we should push ourselves beyond the point of comfort, we shouldn't be stupid. **Note: there is a difference between emotional pain, telling yourself you can't pain and thinking you can out run heatstroke "pain". I have seen many a runner (new and experienced) make the mistake of thinking that because they pushed through pain, they are warriors. This is partly true. There is smart pain and then there is stupid pain.
Right now, the East coast is in a heat wave. Better know as #heatOMG. Hey, we will find anything to complain about! At any rate training runs/rides and races are not taking a break. Many people will hydrate. However, hydration is only part of the equation. Many people forget about another crucial element: core temperature. You can drink all you want, but that won't help your core temperature. Hyperthermia (read this) and dehydration are two different things. Know the difference.
A person can hydrate & consume electrolyte's and do everything "right" but it won't help when your body overheats. And when that happens, pray that you have help nearby, because you will need it. Feel dizzy or lightheaded? This is your body telling you NOT to push it. You are overheating. Stop. Get help. An ice bath saved a runner at a hot race some years ago. It may save your life too.
So, if you are running or racing, please be smart. Stay hydrated. Stay cool. Walk more then you are used to. Don't push the pace. If you are a new runner, take it easy. Tell someone where you will be running. Wear RoadID. To help regain essential minerals lost during a run (or ride) drink some Pedialyte. It has a perfect balance of sugar, electrolyte's, potassium and sodium.
Don't be a hero in the heat. Learn when to back off.
One last point, if you see someone in need of help, stop and help them. Even if they say no. Yes, you may miss your PR, but you could save a life.
Run smart. Run safe. See you on the trails!
Photo by: Felix Francis