Training in the Heat
Updated: Apr 2
by David Bauerle
It’s August, what does that mean? It’s HOT!!!!
Trust me, I live in Texas, I know what hot is. So even though it’s hot, you still have goals and training to complete. Here are some tips on dealing with the heat:
Choose your time
Try to complete your workouts in the early morning if possible. If you can’t, then late evening might work.
Pick your route
Try to pick a route that has as much shade as possible but also one that still allows a breeze. Shade is great but if what is giving you the shade is blocking any kind of breeze it is not optimum.
Your body loses significant water and salt through sweat. Make sure you carry plenty of hydration, fuel, and electrolytes. Also, if you are doing a long workout, choose a route that allows you to replenish you water, fuel, and electrolytes. You may want to choose a route that does loops back to your car or that goes buy a convenience store so you can get what you need.
What you wear has a large impact on how hot you get. Wear lighter color clothing made of a high tech dry wicking, lightweight fabric. This is where spending some extra money is worth it. Running in a cotton shirt is not a good idea in the heat. Also, since the sun is pounding down on your head, make sure to wear a lightweight performance hat or visor.
Cooling the body
If you have cold water available, you can cool the body by pouring cold water on the base of your neck and letting it run down your back. Also, adding ice inside your hat can provide cooling for a longer period of time. If you plan to loop by your car, keep some small towels in an ice chest soaking in ice water, then stop for a few moments at your car to cool yourself down before the next loop.
Give yourself a break
In the heat, your body must direct blood flow to the surface of your skin to cool itself. When this occurs there is not as much blood flow to your muscles as when it is cool. This means that you will slow down when it is hot. It is estimated that during running, you will slow your pace by as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile for every 5°F above 60°F. So, give yourself a break. Everybody slows down in the heat.
Try running or mountain biking on trails. The trails tend to be shadier and may offer a cooler break from training on the pavement. If it’s too hot, then train indoors on a bike trainer or treadmill.
Training in the heat can be dangerous. Heat and dehydration can lead to serious medical conditions, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. These can be serious so if you start to feel any symptoms of any of these conditions, stop immediately and seek help.