7 Reasons to Embrace the Sweat

Don’t let the heat keep you from heading out: finishing a run drenched is nothing to be ashamed of.

Every runner’s favourite warm weather pastime is complaining about running in the heat. (It’s right up there with griping about how frigid it is in the winter.)

Whether you sweat more than the average runner – or simply worry that you do – running in the summer can be extra angst-ridden. The underarm stains! The salt-crust! The super stinky clothes!

But sweat isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s a mark of achievement! It’s time for an attitude adjustment, self-conscious sweaters. Here are seven reasons to perspire with pride.

1. Sweating cools you off.
Some people aren’t able to sweat normally – a condition called anhidrosis – and as such, they’re more prone to heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. Appreciate that your body does what it’s supposed to do and allows you to safely run in most conditions.

2. Everyone can tell that you’re working hard.
Runners love to impress – it’s why there are so many social media accounts detailing a person’s every workout, recovery meal and race finish. And what’s more impressive than working up a full-body sweat?

3. It’s kind of cool to see how heavy your clothes are after a workout…
RW gear editor, Jeff Dengate, blogged about actually weighing his sweaty clothes after a run. (And they weighed almost 500g more than before.) You don’t have to go quite that far, but it is satisfying to note how saturated even your lightest tech wear becomes after a run in the heat.

4. …and how much water weight you lost.
If you go into a hot run well-hydrated – and you should – it’s safe to lose some water weight via sweat. Weigh yourself, naked and dry, before and after your runs to see how much you’re really sweating – the number might astound you. (And increase your fluid intake if you find yourself feeling thirsty or unusually fatigued mid-run, or if you develop headaches or dry mouth – all are symptoms of mild dehydration.)

5. You are able to experience the sick joy of having grown a “salt beard”.
Ever finish a long run or race and think, “Why does my skin have this weird, sandpapery texture?” That’s salt. Enough facial sweat can result in salt sideburns, a salt ‘stache, or even a full salt beard, and you might notice it elsewhere as well – caked on your dark clothes or caught in your eyebrows or eyelashes, for example. What a gross and wonderful function of the human body! (It’s a treat for your pets, too.)

6. You have an excuse to indulge in your favourite savoury snacks.
Hey, you have to replenish the sodium you lost, right?

7. You’re going to kick some butt when temperatures drop this autumn.
Suffering through the heat actually has a pay-off: when you train while mildly dehydrated – a state that’s hard to avoid during hot runs – it can actually help you get faster, especially if your race is in cooler weather.

How? When you run in the heat your body increases the volume of blood plasma to help cool you. When it’s no longer as hot, that booster remains to help shuttle oxygen to working muscles. Get ready for some PBs, perspiring party people!

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