Hot enough for ya – huh?
Training is hard enough. Training in a hot climate is even harder.
However, many athletes do not have the luxury of a perfectly temperate climate to train all year round. If such a place did exist, I also imagine there are constant tailwinds!
Fortunately, there are a couple of simple ways we can make our outdoor training a little more bearable/safe, when it has to completed in the heat
Timing – Whilst it may mean an OMG alarm clock wake up, by training very early (or late) in the day, you can limit the strain on your body by avoiding the sun at its hottest.
Pro tip: By training your body clock for early starts – by the time it is your race day – it will be second nature to you.
Dress for the occasion: Make sure you choose the proper training clothing. Loose-fitting technical training gear will allow the body better perform its primary cooling defense, i.e., sweating. Tight-fitting or the wrong clothing materials such as cotton hamper sweating, thus should be avoided
Pro tip: Light, bright colors or white clothing work better at reflecting the sun’s rays whereas dark colors tend to absorb more heat = be bright!
Plan to drink and DRINK: Hydration becomes even more important when training in the heat. It not only helps cool down the bodys core temperature but also provides the “fuel” for sweating (see above point). So make sure you plan for and bring plenty of fluids, even for short sessions outdoors in the heat.
Pro tip: If completing a run session and do not want to carry a bottle – map out your route beforehand so that it passes by a spot a couple of times when you can drop off hydration in advance. Your own little aid station!
Monitor: Listen to your body as you train to avoid going too hard in the heat. Early warning signs are lightheadness, no longer sweating and/or nausea. Know the signs and respect the signs, i.e. stop the session and don’t try to “push” on through – you may end up losing a lot more than the one session if you do
Pro tip: Keep an eye on your urine pre/post-training session. If it is lemonade colored (not tasting!) – you are likely on top of your hydration, but if it is more Fanta – you are dehydrated and need fluids on board asap
So for some, training in the heat is unavoidable – but it does not have to be dangerous or hold you back from achieving your goals. You just need to train a little smarter.