These heat cramps can occur in any of your muscles that you are using for running. However, most of the time they will happen in your calves or arms. In addition to the muscle spasm, signs of heat cramps you may have are dizziness and heavy sweating.
When you run in the excess heat, you will lose fluids while sweating. In addition, you will be losing electrolytes – which includes salt and potassium. When these levels fall too much, muscles cramps can occur.
To prevent muscles cramping, make sure that you are properly hydrating before you head out to run. Drink 16 ounces of water about an hour before you head out to run. If you are going to be running for longer than 30 minutes, make sure that you take in some water or a sport drink during your run. Also make sure that you are drinking after your run.
In addition to staying hydrated, here are some other things that you can do. Make sure you are wearing loose fitting clothing (made with moisture-wicking material to help keep you cool), wear a cap and try not to run in the hottest part of the day. Try to run early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the times when the sun is at full strength.
If you start cramping from the heat, stop running and get something to drink. And, if possible, make it a sports drink. This is to replace the electrolytes that you have lost. Make sure get to the shade and out of the sun. Also gently massage the area to try to work out the cramps. Once the cramps start subsiding, try to walk around a little bit.
If your cramps are not gone in about an hour, make sure that you seek medical assistance. Muscles cramps are a warning that you are getting severely dehydrated and it not treated, a more serious heat-related illness can occur.
As you can see, when the weather is hot, you need to make sure that you are taking precautions by staying hydrated before, during and after your runs and watching what you wear.