As the weather gets warmer it's important for everyone to be safe, especially those planning on exercising outdoors.
The summer may be peak training time for many marathon runners who are entering races during the fall and serious runners can't afford not to be out moving. Their advice for anyone else giving it a try - plan ahead, acclimate and run before the sun comes up.
Angie Kell, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident and triathlete, has been living in Phoenix for six years but she's been running for about 20 years.
"It's not unprecedented that we start at 3:30 in the morning," she said. "We basically want to have our three-hour runs done before you feel the heat of the sun."
Kell said she'll plan her route more strategically during the summer and be sure to include stops for water.
"We try to stay hydrated as much as we can," she said. "I think most of us that have trained really hard in the summer have fallen victim to that. I've done 20-mile runs when it's 102 when you start. When you get done you're just kind of sick for the rest of the day. You're nauseous and just not quite right. That just underscores the importance of making sure you're properly hydrated before you begin and then make sure to fuel properly during the run."
George and Jane Esahak-Gage train triathletes for most of the year but they leave Ahwatukee during the summer. For those training in the heat they recommend starting slow.
"You can't go out right away," George said. "You have to start out with 10 or 20 minutes one day for a week and the next week maybe add five minutes. If you're used to running 30 or 40 minutes you want to start with maybe just a third of that and then add over a period of about six weeks. You have to be smart about it."
The Esahak-Gages also recommend a good insulated water bottle.
Carlos Paradelo, owner of Ahwatukee's Run AZ and a serious runner himself, says salt tablets and other items that restore electrolytes are good to buy this time of year. He also recommends carrying water on a belt.
Paradelo is training this summer for the Olympic marathon trials. He says for him, not running during the summer is not an option.
"You have to run through the summer if you want to do well," he said. "It's easier if you just run once a day, but for me and for what I want to accomplish I have to run twice a day."
Paradelo tries to run before the sun comes up and after it goes down. He says it's also important to get in shape before the summer starts. That way it's easier to adjust later on.
For those who aren't serious athletes the heat can still be a problem. It's important for everyone to adjust their hiking and even public transit plans to be sure you're not out in the heat for too long.
"Tell someone where you're going," said Elizabeth Smith, a park ranger at South Mountain. "Say, OK I'm going hiking, I'm going on this trail, I expect to be done in so much time. Call them back and let them know so that if something were to go wrong we know where to look. Stay on the trail. Once you deviate from the trail it's harder to find folks if you do need to be rescued."
Smith also recommends being careful with dogs and says South Mountain rangers are often called to dog rescues that not always have a happy ending.
"Your dog will follow you to its last steps," she said. "So it's important to pay attention and recognize if your dog is acting stressed."
The gates at South Mountain open at 5 a.m. and Smith says the earlier you can start a hike the better. For more information on Phoenix hiking trails, visit phoenix.gov/parks. The city also has some tips for staying cool while waiting for public transit. Those tips can be found at valleymetro.org or by calling customer service at (602) 253-5000.
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