This week, the Eastern Coast of North America is getting it’s first heat wave of the summer. With temperatures cracking 100 degrees F predicted in NYC today, it’s important that athletes take precautions while training. Here are a few tips on how to thrive in the heat.
- Train long, using multiple loops. If you are planning to tackle your long run or long bike ride in the heat, consider breaking your workout up into multiple loops. This allows you to easily make your own “aid stations” during your workout, and still get in the big miles. For example, let’s say you plan to run an 18 miler today in the heat. Find a 6-mile loop, and find a spot to stash a couple of bottles of sports drink and water in a cooler. At the end of each loop, you’ve got a fresh bottle waiting for you.
- Sports drink inside, water outside. Because our bodies tend to release precious fluids and electrolytes when we sweat, it’s incredibly important to replenish what is lost. Your best bet is to drink a sports drink that contains an electrolyte supplement (G2, Nuun, Accelerade, etc.). In addition to replacing fluids and nutrients lost while training in the heat, keep your core body temperature down by frequently pouring water on your head and down your body. By keeping your body temperature from getting too high, you’ll not only stay cool, but your performance during the workout will remain high.
- Adjust your efforts. Because it’s hot out there, your body will by desperately trying to keep you cool by diverting blood flow to your skin. This will in turn force less blood to flow to your legs and arms, and as a result your heart rate will likely be artificially inflated. The key in this situation is to ignore this fact, and stick with your training zones, even if that means slowing your pace slightly. If you scheduled to do high intensity intervals, consider moving the workout to a cooler day, or starting the workout when the sun goes down. And don’t feel the need to get all 10 of your 10x200m sprints done when the temperature is high.
These are just a few tips to follow when you are out there training in hot weather. Feel free to leave a comment, and let us know what tips you have to share on training in the heat. If you do train in the heat, be smart, stay hydrated, and above all, listen to your body.