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Clothing made from light weight, breathable materials are the best for running in because they allow for body heat to escape and prevent runners from overheating, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Fowler, a physical therapy technician with the Physical Therapy Unit, Naval Hospital.

Photo by Pfc. Drew W. Barker

Safety tips help summer runners stay safe

16 Jun 2005 | Pfc. Drew W. Barker

Running can be an excellent aerobic activity for an individual’s summer physical training routine, but it can also be very dangerous if proper safety precautions are not followed.

Many Marines know about the regulation requiring runners to wear a reflective belt or vest before morning colors and after evening colors. However, many are not aware it is part of a base order, which provides a set of rules designed to protect both runners and drivers.

Base Order 5560.2L outlines regulations that include, but are not limited to, requiring runners to be no closer than six feet to the roadside and prohibiting the use of headphones while running.

Besides following base orders regarding running safety, there are a number of other things individuals can do to avoid ailments resulting from physical exertion in the summer heat.

“Acclimatization and hydration are the two big ones, “ said Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Fowler, a physical therapy technician with the Physical Therapy Unit, Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune. “You need to drink water before, after and especially during the run.”

You can lose between 6 and 12 oz. of fluid for every 20 minutes of running. Therefore it is important to pre-hydrate by drinking 10 to 15 fluid ounces of fluids 10 to 15 minutes prior to running and drink fluids every 20-30 minutes along your running route, according to the Road Running Club of America’s Web site, www.rrca.org.

“Indicators that you are dehydrated are a persistent elevated pulse rate after finishing your run, dizziness, irritability and dark yellow urine,” said Fowler.

Keep in mind that thirst is not an adequate indicator of dehydration, according to Fowler.

Run in the shade whenever possible to avoid direct sun. When you are going to be exposed, apply a sunscreen with a minimum Sun Protection Force of 15. Not only can the sun affect your skin, but its rays can also affect your eyes, so when it’s sunny wear sunglasses, according to Fowler.

Another running ailment that is worse in the summer months is muscle cramping, according to Fowler.

“It’s especially important to stretch after your run,” said Fowler. “Stretching your muscles before will help you prevent injuries, and stretching after will help you avoid muscle cramps and increase flexibility.”

A few other tips for a successful summer running season include finding a partner to run with, carrying identification and making others aware of your route, according to Fowler.

The arrival of summer and the high temperatures and humidity that accompany it, present a potentially dangerous running environment. Adhering to safety guidelines and base orders can result in a safe and productive summer running experience.