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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!

Our 4 Fave Shaded Running Routes

Hit these four shaded running routes and make your next run a little cooler

Our four favorite shaded running routes will get you off the blistering roads. The mercury continues to rise in Austin and you should build shade into your runs anytime you can.

Hop in Barton Spring Pool after running the Greenbelt, one of our fave shaded running routes

Cool off in Barton Springs after your Greenbelt run.

Greenbelt

Choose your distance on this technical (most off-road route on the list), completely car-free route (be aware of mountain bikers). You’ll travel 15 miles total if you begin at Barton Springs Pool and run to the Hill of Life. Run without headphones so you can focus on the trail and listen for mountain bikers. Pro tip – on really hot days complete this run in the morning. Finish before 8:00 a.m. and take a refreshing dip in Barton Springs for free. Even after 8:00 a.m. it’ll only cost $3. Trail shoes aren’t required but they will provide more traction and stability on your run.

Shoal Creek Trail

This roughly 3.25-mile trail stretches from Lady Bird Lake to 38th St. It’s a popular trail for cyclists who commute downtown. There are some bridges to avoid streets, but if you run the entire route be advised there are some street crossings. If you want a condensed interval or speed workout, begin at Pease Park. You can do one-mile out-and-back repeats.

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

You can run countless winding miles on this nearly 300-acre section of land in north Austin. Plenty of parking makes access a breeze. Bring your four-legged friend with you! Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is off-leash in the main section. Scope out the trails beforehand to ensure the creeks are running so your pup can hydrate. Knock out your hill workouts and keep an eye out for mountain bike.

Southern Walnut Creek Trail

Knock out your next 15-mile run on this nearly 7.5-mile out-and-back trail that begins at Govalle Neighborhood Park off Bolm Rd. in east Austin. It features 10-foot wide concrete paths and splendid views. Be advised, this is a popular route for cyclists and traffic flows both ways. Parking is plentiful. Need a longer run? Keep going past Daffen Lane and Decker Lane to add more miles. Use caution when crossing both roadways.

Pro tip – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Just because you’re off the roads doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hydrate. Some of these places have water fountains, but you should bring your own hydration to guarantee you’ll have some. There are many hydration options that you can wear on your back, around your waist, or in the palm of your hand.