Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday - Training in the Heat

Summer is here in full force in the GTA.  This past weekend was a scorcher and the rest of this week looks like it's going to be even hotter.  Where were these temps in June when I was training for Eagleman?  If I had weather like this leading up to the race, I probably would have been fine on race day.   But I digress.  It is perfect timing for our Tri Talk Tuesday link up though!  Today Courtney, Cynthia and I are talking about training in the heat.

Training in the heat is hard enough, add in humidity and that's where things get really ugly.  Especially when you're in a big city as the air quality usually takes a nose dive when the humidity gets too high.  Everyone's tolerance is different so what might be too hot and humid for one person might be tolerable for another.  The key is to know your body and play it smart.  That being said, it sucks to run inside on a treadmill when the sun is shining.  So, here are a few tips to help you deal with the heat.

1.  Adjust your expectations / pacing.  This is the main piece of advice I give to my athletes when running in the heat.  There are physiological changes that happen to your body when training in the heat.  You sweat more, which can lead to dehydration.  Your heart rate is also becomes elevated in the heat.  This elevation generally means that what may normally feel like an easy pace for you becomes a bit harder.   This becomes even more apparent when attempting speed work in the heat.   Listen to your body and don't be afraid to back things off.  Most importantly, don't beat yourself up over how hard the workout felt or how slow you were.  The heat does that.   A better tactic would be to switch to perceived effort vs. pace.   If the workout is a pace based workout and you really want to hit your paces, head to a nicely air conditioned gym and get it done on the treadmill.

2.  Stay hydrated.  If you're planning on working out in the evening this may mean increasing fluid intake overall during the day so you don't start your run dehydrated.  Or, it may mean you need to bring an electrolyte drink with you depending on the length and intensity of your workout.  For a moderate intensity workout that is under an hour, you should be fine with water.  If it's going to be longer than an hour, or if you're a heavy sweater, bring an electrolyte drink.  If I'm doing any sort of high intensity workout in the heat, I always bring a bottle of either Nuun or Gu Brew, even if it's only a 30-40 minute workout.  For longer efforts, especially on the bike, I use Salt Stick tablets.  Compared to my husband, I'm not the saltiest sweater but I still have a fair bit of salt on me after a longer race.  Even more so if it's a hot one.

3.  Go early or go late.  This may not be the most ideal situation but if you want to do your workout outside and the forecast is brutal, you may want to look at either getting up really early before the sun is up or heading out after the sun sets.  Personally I'd take the morning.  I like having my workout done before my day starts.  Plus you get to see the sun rise.

4.  Listen to your body.  Pushing yourself in the heat can be dangerous, especially if you're not used to it.  Even if you are, you can still suffer heat related health issues so always err on the side of caution.  If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded, it's time to pull the pin.  Getting that workout in isn't worth compromising your health. 

Do you have any other hot weather training tips? 

I'm looking forward to checking out all
the other posts given the scorching weather we're experiencing now!


Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home said...

All good tips! I keep reminding myself that training in this heat and humidity will bring huge benefits once the weather cools. Right? Right?

Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner said...

Adjusting expectations is key! Not always easy though

Courtney@The TriGirl Chronicles said...

Good call on the salt sticks. Those things work great!

Unknown said...

I just saw a study that says pre-cooling is the way to go, and surface cooling (i.e. cooling your skin) works longer than core cooling (a cold drink beforehand). My main floor bathroom is over the furnace in my house so it's always the coolest room when the AC is on (conversely, it's like a sauna in the winter), so I can use that room to prep for a run. There's also tossing your workout clothes into the freezer.

Jenn said...

Love your list - have you ever used one of those cooling towels I've seen around recently? Enduracool I think is one brand. With this heat it's almost necessary!

Kelli said...

Listen to your body. So important. One of my teammates ended up in the med tent after NJ State Tri - she had to get IV fluids she was so dehydrated. My brain shuts me down before I can push that hard. I can't even get HR above threshold on my run leg of triathlons. I guess that's not a bad thing.

Angela Campos said...

I am not an early bird, but I do like the idea of 'Going Late" to avoid the heat and will give that a Tri :-) Thank you for the great tips!!

Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! said...

We are totally in sync with this post. Great tips!

Unknown said...

Love this post. Training in the heat is hard, but if I am not trying to hit a certain pace, I go in the heat of the day to garner some adaptation. Not for everyone but I do love the heat!