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If a driver is passing through base they might see wooden containers reading H2O ON THE GO. In an initiative by Marine Corps Community Services water jugs have been stategically placed around base forfitness aficionados to rehydrate after long periods of running or working out.

Photo by Jeremy Beale

In the face of high temperatures, Quantico keeps its runners safe

28 Jun 2017 | Jeremy Beale/Staff Writer Marine Corps Base Quantico

As running activity continues to increase on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Northern Virginia temperatures continue to climb to consistent temperatures of approximately 90 degrees.

In preparation for these high temperatures Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) and the Safety Division have made the mainside roadways safer by adding water jugs and directional signs to reduce the risk of runner -related injuries and ailments.

Water jugs, or H2O stations, have been placed in strategic high traffic areas along major roadways such as Fuller Road, Barnett Avenue, Bauer Road and areas not under construction along Russell Road.

If runners are seeking a path to run, the jugs can be found outside Hospital Point, Marine Corps Air Facility, Barnett Field, Base Housing, Officer Candidates School and the Marine Corps Memorial Chapel.

According to Semper Fit dietician Lauren King, hydration is key, as the body needs fluids to optimally perform like a well- oiled machine.

It is a common belief that approximately 60 percent of the human body is composed of water with 75 percent in the muscles and 85 percent in the brain.

“Never operate on an empty tank,” King said. “Prepare your body for the challenge with carbs, lean proteins and fluids before and after exercise.”

Because dehydration is a primary contributor to heat exhaustion, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests people should drink water before feeling thirsty, because by the time someone feels thirsty, they are already behind in fluid replacement.

It is important to note the effects of dehydration increase on hot days as the body tries remove heat from the skin, rather than pumping blood to working muscles, thus resulting in higher heart rates and the inability to maintain a steady working pace—all this while the body fights to maintain core temperatures.

“Most people need several hours to drink enough fluids to replace what they have lost through sweat,” according to the CDC.  “The sooner someone gets started, the less strain they will place on their body from dehydration.”

Hydrating after work or exercise is crucial, especially in extreme heat as chronic dehydration increases the risk for a number of medical conditions, including immediate dehydration, or worse, heat stroke.

“When working in the heat, drink one cup or eight ounces of water every 15–20 minutes, because drinking at shorter intervals is more effective than drinking large amounts infrequently,” the CDC says. “However, do not drink more than 48 ounces per hour as drinking too much water or other fluids can also cause a medical emergency due to the concentration of salt in the blood becoming too low.”

Further emphasizing the importance of proper preparation and running etiquette, Semper Fit Fitness Director Veronica Nelson explained that stretching and warm-ups are essential to safe running and exercise.

“If stretching, someone should not stretch as far as possible at the beginning of the stretch,” Nelson said. “By allowing the body to adapt to every increase of demand over the course of the exercise session, many strains and sprains can be avoided.”

However, Nelson also states that stretching is not always necessary if a warm-up has been placed in effect, especially if the workout is intense.

“Warm-ups can prevent many injuries,” Nelson said. “In any exercise, the first few minutes should be taken at easy intensities of speed, resistance and extension.”

As the exercise continues, Nelson suggests gradually increasing intensity until maximum exercise levels have been reached.

“For example, if someone is running, they won’t start at their fastest pace—they will set their own pace and increase as they feel fit,” Nelson said. “Always spend a few minutes walking and jogging in place or perform the exercise at low intensity for a few minutes to elevate the body temperature prior to the workout.”

According to Angela Anderson, deputy director, Marine Corps Marathon, if preparing for a marathon, having a committed training plan that suits an individual’s best abilities and staying on task will aid in preparation for long distance running. 

“Most important is to increase your long distance runs on the weekends to get your body used to the marathon distance,” Anderson said.

Nelson also believes post stretch, cool down and rest are vital to loosening tight muscles that have been working, because if left tightened it could cause injury.

“Over training is misunderstood by most exercisers,” Nelson said. “Once a workout has been completed, the body requires adequate rest to repair and regenerate its energy.  Rest is needed so the body can adapt to the stress of the workout and make itself ready for the next workout in a stronger, faster and more efficient way.”

Nelson further says that this strategy for exercising helps continued progress, because if inadequate rest is allowed for frequent workouts, stress, poor sleep, inadequate nutrition or lack of exercise variety can result and injury is more likely.

Apart from health precautions Base Safety has also placed directional signs along the roads aboard Quantico telling runners which direction to run to avoid oncoming traffic. In accordance with Marine Corps Base Order 6100.2, headphones may only be worn while utilizing the base athletic track or while running/walking along the trails situated off the roadway. This policy is also applicable to all bicycle riders.

And, if possible, stay on the sidewalks in pedestrian areas and the shoulder in traffic areas.

Anderson suggests runners should also wear sunscreen, bug spray and sunglasses to protect the body from sunrays and bugs. Also, wear reflective gear, light clothing and a headlamp if running in the dark. 

As running is a healthy way to break from a long business day aboard base, it should be practiced in a safe manner that promotes a healthy lifestyle among those who practice it as Quantico wants all citizens aboard base to return home safe at the end of the day.

jbeale@quanticosentryonline.com


Marine Corps Base Quantico