Not Sweating While Running

  

Have a question about running? You're in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon's Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.

QUESTION

Why is it that the longer I run in the heat, the less I sweat? I start out dripping sweat from every pore. But after an hour or so, my sweating seems to decrease dramatically. I feel like I'm drinking plenty of water. Is it just that my body needs to adapt to the heat?

HAL’S ANSWER

Yes, our bodies do seem to adapt to the heat. Somewhat. Thus, we are discomforted by warm weather less toward the end of the summer than at the beginning of summer. Or maybe we learn to manage the heat better: slowing down, drinking more, running at times of the day that are cooler and without the sun beating down on our heads.

But a red flag just went up, because what you describe (no sweat) is the early stage of dehydration, which can lead to heat stroke. Sorry to scare you, but sweat is an important part of our body’s air conditioning system. We sweat. The sweat evaporates. This cools us. We need to drink to maintain this air conditioning system. Fluid out requires more fluid in. Unfortunately, under very warm conditions, the body cannot process fluids fast enough to match sweat loss. Sweating decreases—as you have discovered. As a result, body temperature increases. In extreme conditions, the body temperature may rise to dangerous levels. You need to slow down, stop, get off the course, find shade, sit down, seek help. It’s 9-1-1 time. Dehydration can prove fatal.

Dry skin, the result of no sweat, very definitely signals a dangerous condition—a red flag—that we need to learn to recognize, both in ourselves and in other runners around us.

About the Author

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for'Runner's World'and author of 34 books, including the best-selling'Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that more than a quarter million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks.Hal uses'TrainingPeaks'to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans.'Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here'or on'his website.

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