With the temps scorching at the moment, now is the time to talk about training in the heat. There’s not really another way to escape it but let’s look at what we can do to help ourselves train, and race, in the heat. *apart from getting on a plane and flying to cooler climes. Or by heading inside and running on the ‘dreadmill’ in the aircon.
Preparing for your run:
- The first rule of thumb when it comes to training and racing in the heat is hydration. It’s critical. We need to start hydrated.
- Pre-hydrate:The night before a long run or an event, put some sodium-rich fluids into your body such as soups or broths, think miso, beef or chicken soups.
- Wear clothing that is light-coloured. It should be breathable, keep you cool, and allow you to sweat.
- If running in a dry, location with low humidity your sweat will evaporate quickly which can mean you can become dehydrated much more quickly than in a humid area. Wearing something light with sleeves (that you can pour water on) can keep you cool and prevent dehydration.
- Wear a hat and some sunglasses.
- Plan to run on shaded trails, concrete or asphalt absorbs heat and radiates it back at you. Plus trails are far more fun.
- Wear sunblock, getting sunburnt can increase stress caused by heat.
- Plan your run for the cooler parts of the day, run early in the morning or later in the evening and aim to avoid the midday heat.
Get Cool Beforehand:
- If you are heading out for a workout in the heat, cool your body down beforehand so that it takes you longer to ‘heat up’.
- Drink something cool and icy. A slushy (or similar) will ensure a lower core temp.
- Get cool in a lake, pool, river, cold shower or the sea for 10-15minutes prior to running. If you can’t do that then set the aircon to cool, and then head out.
During Your Run:
- Slow down. Appreciate that a super hot day is not the day to run to your usual pace. As soon as you start getting too hot your ‘Rate of Perceived Exertion’ will increase, so aim for the intensity rather than target pace.
- Keep intensity sessions short. I did some 2km reps by whipping out around the block, back into the air conditioned building, having an ice cold drink and cool down in the air con, and then going again. By the time I was starting to overheat I was done.
- Shorten or split up your workouts. Double days could become your new best friend.
- Hydrate. Take on fluids, preferably electrolytes to replace the sodium that you will be losing through your sweat.
- Drop bag/Shop. Freeze some bottles and put them in your drop bags, or get your loved ones to drop them off to you at different places throughout your long run. Another option is to pop into a shop and get something icy and cold which will help lower your core temperature.
- Use cool towels or cool water to cool down. I’ve found that putting some cool water on my forearms helps me to cool down.
If you notice that you have stopped sweating, are getting goosebumps, aren’t really ‘with it’, are dizzy, nauseated, off balance or have a rapid heartbeat or breathing, then get out of the sun. Seek somewhere cool to lower your core temp, lie down, and rehydrate. These can be symptoms of heatstroke and heatstroke is something that we can easily prevent. Nobody wants heatstroke.
- Do a bomb bro! Get yourself to the nearest cool water and jump in.
- Rehydrate using electrolytes. One of our very clever runners has started creating electrolyte slushies for her post run treat.
- Celebrate with an ice-lolly and commend yourself for getting your running in even when it is hot.