5 Tips for Training in the Heat

Summer is settling in, take precautions when training in the heat

Even with summer thunderstorms, temperatures in Central Texas consistently hit the mid-90s. Take a look at the heat index and it’s almost always triple digits. High temperatures won’t keep you from training, so you need to make some adjustments. Training in the heat does have some benefits, but being smart and altering your schedule/plan ensures your training regimen rolling right along. Incorporate these 5 tips for training in the heat and you’ll be prepared for your next race.

Hydrate more when training in the heat.

Hydrate more when training in the heat. Photo – Ed Sparks

HYDRATE!

This is the most obvious and most over-looked training in the heat tip. You know to hydrate in the summer months, but you don’t always do it. Sometimes you forget, perhaps you get sidetracked at work, often times you hydrate, just not enough. It’s recommended that we drink 64 ounces of water a day. In the summer months that should increase. And if your training in the heat, that amount should increase even more. Your body is losing fluids and you need to replace them. Don’t just drink water either, incorporate an electrolyte-enhanced drink, like nuun. Alternate between water and electrolytes. If you’re training in the heat you should aim for no less than 100 ounces of water/electrolytes every day. Drink up!

Train in the mornings/evenings

It’s no secret that the hottest part of the day is noon – 5:00 p.m. If you can avoid training during that timeframe do it! During the summer months, your training should occur earlier in the mornings or later in the evenings. Training early in the morning before work is your best bet. That’s the coolest part of the day. Your body will thank you for not having to work as hard keeping you cool. Not a morning person? Move your workouts to an evening time. 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. would be an ideal time for a workout. It’ll be warm, just not as hot as midday. Bonus – the sun’s angle is lower during the morning and the evenings. This means there will be more shadows on your run or ride.

Wear light-colored, breathable clothing

Darker colored clothing attracts and absorbs more of the sun’s heat. Cotton shirts and shorts absorb and carry sweat, weighing you down. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing when training in the heat. The lighter colors will reflect the sunlight and not absorb as much heat. Breathable clothing will wick sweat from your body and not weigh you down. This allows your body to stay cool and work more efficiently.

Run/bike on the trails

Hit the trails! The pavement’s temperature can soar as high as 140 degrees when you’re running or cycling. This heat can last well into the evening. Visit the trails for your next run or ride. The shade from the trees helps keep the temperatures down. There’s often little-to-no vehicle traffic. The ground is softer than the hot concrete. Often times there’s a creek or river nearby that you can jump in if needed. Check out our four favorite trails. Bonus – the trails will make you a better runner/cyclist!

Apply sunscreen

Swimming, biking, running. It doesn’t matter. Apply sunscreen! Even if you run in the shade or ride on the trail, apply sunscreen. If you’re swimming indoors you don’t need sunscreen, but if you’re outdoors, lather up! Look for sunscreen that’s sweat and water-proof. It’ll last long during your workout and ensure the sun’s ray don’t impact your skin, especially if you take off your shirt mid-run. If you’re racing for an extended period of time, apply sunscreen throughout. Training with a sunburn is not comfortable. Plus, the sunburn will warm your body and make it that much more difficult to keep your core cool.

These tips don’t apply to every scenario. There are various options you can choose from that variate from these tips. Modify them to your training plan, location, and life schedule. This advice will lead you to build a training plan that’s suitable for you. You’ll be ready for that next event. And think, when the temperatures start cooling off in the fall, you’ll be ahead of the training game!