Whew… it’s sweltering out there, and you want to run?
Story by Eddy Hoyle + Photography by Hopkins Studio
The dog days of summer are upon us … heat, humidity, and scorching sun. So how in the world do you prepare for running events in July and August – a time that many Lowcountry residents actually leave town to escape the heat?
“Running is a sport, and you must respect that and treat it as such. Train for it and get the right accessories and equipment,” said Rob Fyfe, co-owner of Palmetto Running Company. “The heat and humidity here takes a little getting used to,” he said, “especially if you come from up north.”
For both seasoned runners and those just getting started Fyfe had plenty of suggestions for running when it’s a scorcher: wear light colored clothes; run early in the morning; plan a route on a shady trail; pour bottled water over your head; run through any sprinkler you can.
His best advice is to follow a plan, join a club, get a coach, and run with a partner. Fyfe said he gets up about 6 a.m. every Saturday in order to run with friends at 7 a.m. “My wife thinks I’m crazy, but I’m meeting my best friends. We run 6 or 8 miles and then we go to the local coffee shop. It’s social and it’s a lifestyle. That’s what we do. Runners get it.”
Rob Fyfe and his son Christian of Palmetto Running Company traveled to Tucson in May to receive the 2019 Best Running Stores in America award. “It’s like the Academy Awards of running stores,” said Fyfe. Nominations for the award must come from the general public. This year 15,000 nominations were received and thoroughly vetted, then the top stores are put in the competition. The finalists are scored on stringent requirements including what the store does for the community in terms of charitable programs and sponsorship’s; ratings provided by consumers and vendors; evaluation by a secret shopper; website and social media, and more.
Hydration is everything
“Hydrate well and start hydrating the day before,” Fyfe said. Drinking plain water isn’t enough because sweat depletes electrolytes that must be replaced. Runners should carry hydration packs and drink on average 4 oz. of fluid for every two miles. It’s also a good idea to carry electrolyte replacement supplements like NUUN capsules that offer more complete electrolytes. “If you feel thirsty, it’s too late. You’re already dehydrated.” Dehydration causes headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness and nausea. Fyfe said if you start to feel dizzy or nauseous you should stop, but most runners want to finish the race, so they do what they can. “But if your body says stop, stop!”
Keep fuel in your gas tank
Runners burn 100 calories per mile and need to keep their bodies fueled. “Everyone is different,” Fyfe said. “It’s bio-specific.” On average, however, runners should refuel with a energy gel pack every 45 minutes. This is a small, squeezable packet of gel that has carbs and vitamins and contains 100 calories. “You just squeeze it and swallow to get the calories you need to keep going,” he said.
Never buy a new pair of shoes the day before a race
Even shoes are bio-specific, according to Fyfe. It takes a couple of weeks to break in a pair of shoes, and it’s important that runners get the right shoes for them. At Palmetto Running Company Fyfe says they ask customers a lot of questions about their goals. Are they a walker, a runner, or a marathoner? They also use their new Artex Albert 3-D digital foot scanning machine that measures foot size, weight distribution, arch structure and bio-mechanics to check out the ankle pronation and knees. This process eliminates nearly all shoe options in the store leaving the top three shoes for that particular person, guaranteeing the best choice for the customer.
Something for everyone
Running is a specialized sport and there are myriad products available to address various needs. If chafing and friction is a problem, there is a product called Glide which creates a slippery barrier between the skin and clothing. For plantar fasciitis there are special socks, shoes and sandals. Compression sleeves (for calves, arms or thighs) offer support and help increase blood flow. They help cut down on muscle fatigue and increase blood flow during the run, but can also be worn for a day or two after racing to help with recovery.
Upcoming Running Events
Palmetto Dunes Turtle Trot 5K
Wednesdays in July and August, 8 a.m.
Firecracker 5000 HHI
July 4, 8 a.m., Jarvis Creek
Beach Bum Tri HHI
July 22, 8 a.m., Coligny Beach
Palmetto Bluff Rise & Run
Aug. 10, 7 a.m.
Bobcat Scorcher 5K
Aug. 17, 8 a.m., Hampton Hall
Palmetto Bluff Rise & Run
Sept. 7, 7 a.m.
Old Town Bluffton Oyster Run 5K/10K
Oct. 19, 8 a.m.
Tiger Bass Run 5K/10K
Oct. 26, 9 a.m., Hampton Lake
Palmetto Bluff Buffalo Run 10K/30K/50K
Dec. 15, 6:30 a.m.
Hood to Coast HHI “Mother of All Relays”
Feb. 1, 3 a.m., Beach House
Palmetto Bluff Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K
March 8, 8 a.m.