Tips to reduce risks of overheating1. Sweat must evaporate
Wear light, breathable clothes made of loose woven material so that sweat can evaporate easily. Black and dark clothes actually increase the risk of overheating. A headband will help keep sweat out of your eyes.2. Protect against the sun
UV rays can damage the eyes and cause skin cancer. A cap will keep your head cool and protect your face and neck from sunburn. Sunglasses or dark contact lenses are no luxury when the sun is bright. And in the long run, this is also better for your eyes: a win-win situation. Also, do not go out without protecting your skin with sunscreen with a good sun protection factor (SPF). We recommend using at least factor 10 or 12 in the Netherlands.3. Air temperature and WBGT
This may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Air temperature gives an indication of the 'heat stress' the body is exposed to. WBGT (Wet Bulb Globe Temperature) is an accurate method to measure it, as it also takes into account humidity, wind and solar radiation. For sports federations, the WBGT is a good guideline to determine whether events can go ahead or whether additional measures need to be taken.4. Drink enough, but in moderation!
Moisture and water are the main concerns in high temperatures. But just drinking water is not enough, as sweating also causes you to lose salt. This can cause a shortage of salt (especially the component sodium) in the blood, which can lead to problems. Therefore, alternate water with sports drinks: as these contain salt.
The most useful thing is to know approximately how much you sweat while running; because this can vary a lot from person to person! But how do you find out how much you actually sweat? Then step on the scales every now and then before and after a workout. Try to drink so much that you haven't lost more than 2% of your body weight afterwards, but also not so much that you weigh more afterwards.
Now you also know approximately what you will need in terms of water during the Dam tot Damloop. Have two large glasses of water (500 ml) with your last meal - about 2 hours before the event - and drink enough (about 2 litres per day) in the days leading up to the event. Now your body has time to absorb it, but you can also get rid of the excess water. Have some extra salty foods if it's really hot. People are more likely to get into trouble because of overheating than dehydration. But dehydration does make you overheat faster. So throw water on your body and sports drink in your mouth!
Here are some additional tips for participants regarding fluid intake:
5. No salt tablets
- Always drink big sips at a time, frequent small sips do not excite the stomach as well, making gastric emptying slower;
- Preferably bring your own water;
- Do not drink alcohol before the run;
- If necessary, use the sponges offered at the water stations to cool yourself down;
- General: your urine output should be sufficient (at least 1.5 litres per day). By looking at the colour of your urine, you can check whether you have drunk enough. For the event, urine should preferably be light yellow. If the urine is dark yellow, you have not drunk enough.
In earlier years, salt tablets were sometimes recommended on hot days, but we have left those days behind. It is true that sweat contains salt, but using salt tablets is similar to drinking salt water: it only makes you more thirsty. Drink plenty of fluids and supplement the salt loss with the salt in your diet.6. Adjust your pace
You may have trained for a new personal best, but you would do well to adjust your pace in warm conditions. This applies to everyone, including young and fit participants. Start carefully and control your pace; the adrenaline at the start makes it easy to start too fast. Walk your own pace and avoid big tempo changes during your race.7. Make use of a Red Cross post
On the Dam tot Damloop course, you will find a Red Cross care station every 500 metres. You can go here if you do not feel well or are bothered by something else.
Should you recognise any of the symptoms of heatstroke as described above, stop immediately and seek help at a Red Cross post. Cooling baths led by doctors are also located 575 metres before the finish and after the finish line. It is also possible that the runner does not recognise the symptoms in himself; so also look at your fellow runners. See that they are swaddling? Take them to the side and have them lie flat in the shade and ask for help.8. Clothing
To get rid of excess body heat properly, the right choice of clothing is crucial. Therefore, make sure you don't skimp on clothing but use high-quality clothing. The following tips will come in handy:
- Don't dress too warm and choose clothes that minimise the evaporation of sweat. So use 'breathable' clothing;
- On the day of the event, don't expose yourself too much to heat - so no hot clothes;
- White clothing has the best reflection of heat from the environment, unlike black clothing. White clothing is therefore preferred;
- Protect your head and neck when exposure to direct sunlight is unavoidable (breathable headgear);
- Preferably use sunglasses to protect your eyes from bright sunlight.
After the event, take off your sweaty clothes as soon as possible and put on clean, dry clothes. This is important because the moisture in your sportswear cools down quickly and therefore your muscles can also cool down quickly.9. Risk of recurrence
People who have had heat problems before have an increased risk of recurrence. If you are someone who has experienced this, be extra careful when exercising on hot days. In general, children, the elderly, people with underlying diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease or taking medication for mental illness) and less fit people (such as overweight / BMI above 25) are always at increased risk of heat disorders. They should better avoid situations of intense and prolonged exertion in heat.10. Acclimatisation
When preparing for the Dam tot Damloop, try training on a hot day. This will help you learn how your body reacts to the heat and what signals it gives. It also allows your body to get used to exercising in warm conditions (acclimatisation) so that it is better prepared for possible heat during the Dam tot Damloop.11. Train sufficiently
Prepare sufficiently and make sure you are fit for the start. Tips from the Red Cross
The Red Cross conducted a survey among Dutch athletes and concluded that to prevent possible overheating, body signals should not be ignored. Read some advice and results of this survey on their website.