Article -Tips for training in the Heat 🔥
Depending on where you live in the country, it's probably safe to say most of us are experiencing summertime temperatures that can exceed 90° on a daily basis. Here in the Midwest we've had 90+ degree weather with 80% humidity coming up on three weeks straight. From what I've read and learned, on average it takes a minimum of 2 weeks for most people to acclimate to heat.
Probably like most people, I'm not a fan of extreme heat yet some of my best performances have come during the hot summer months of July, August and September. So even though I do not enjoy training or racing in the heat here are my tips to training, racing smart and staying hydrated during the hot humid summer months.
•TRAIN EARLY MORNING OR LATE EVENING.
For most this would be common sense however sometimes it's not always possible due to family and work obligations. If possible, try to get your workouts in early morning or late in the evening when temperatures are usually 10 to 15 degrees cooler.
•WEAR LIGHT COLORED, BREATHABLE CLOTHING 🏃♂️🏃♀️
We all know that black absorbs more heat so try to stick with light colors that do not absorb as much heat and wear light-weight breathable clothing that wicks sweat away from you. Use this time to also test out new race gear to find out what helps keep you cool versus what doesn't.
•WET YOUR CLOTHING IN COLD WATER BEFORE GOING OUT ❄
I've been doing this for years and it helps me significantly with keeping my temperature down. I will run my shirt, headband and shorts under a cold faucet and then put on before going out for a run.
•PRE COOL YOUR BODY BY TAKING A COLD SHOWER BEFORE GOING OUT 🚿
If it's extremely hot out you can piggyback on wetting your clothing down by taking a cool shower for 5 to 10 minutes before going out to help keep your temperature down for the time that you are outside during your workout.
•RUN CIRCLES AROUND THE BLOCK
As boring as it sounds, by running around the block multiple times it keeps you close to home in case the heat affects you negatively. Staying close to home allows you to adjust your intensities on your workout so that you're not stranded at a distance and in need of help.
•PLAN A RUNNING ROUTE THAT KEEPS YOU CLOSE TO HOME
Piggybacking on running circles around the block, try to choose a route that is more shaded. This will benefit you as well as a route that runs you out and back that way you can increase your intensity on the back half of the run as you near closer to home.
•CROSS TRAIN IN WATER 🏊♂️
This could be anything from aqua jogging to doing laps in the pool to jumping in the lake and using resistance bands.
• RUN OFF EFFORT, NOT OFF PACE
Because heat increases dehydration, heart rate and reduced blood flow (oxygen) to the muscles used for running or whatever, it's easy to understand why a normal effort now seems harder. Because of these factors go off your effort and don't chase a pace.
Monitoring your water intake and your sweat loss is very important. It can be shocking how much you lose just being out for 30 to 60 minutes. I encourage people to weigh themselves before they go out and once they get back. On average I will lose 4 pounds of sweat in just a 60-minute effort. Because of this it's easy to understand how people can get in trouble really quickly and not realize how much water they've actually lost. Aim to consume at least half of your body weight in ounces per day. As the saying goes, "If you're thirsty you're already dehydrated"
•ADJUST YOUR DIET 🍉🍊🍌🍒🥥
Again, drink more water. If you know you're going out into the heat plan ahead and incorporate more salts and electrolytes into your diet the night before and the morning of. During the summer months I will double if not triple my fruit intake to get more water, nutrients and electrolytes into my system. Fruits like bananas, cherries, watermelons, mangos, strawberries etc.
If all else fails and it's just not working, you can always take your workouts inside as there's nothing you can't do inside that has to be done outside. At the end of the day all of us just want to be happier and healthier and there's no point in putting your well-being at risk.
Mike is a multiple time Blog Author - our thanks to him.
Here’s a couple of quick tips to help you prepare for those events along with a couple more than will help you get ready for Ultra-OCRs once full on race season resumes.