Saturday, April 21, 2012

Training In Hot Weather

While out running the other day I put my hair up in a bun, carried with me a small 12oz water bottle, and I put on some sunscreen to ensure I didn't get burned.  All this was great in theory, but didn't quite work out as I had planned. Note, it was 82 degrees outside, sun high in the sky. First hot training run ever.

First, I ran out of water before my run was finished, forcing me to stop at my local market for a water refill and bathroom break.  Second, the sunscreen I used was not strong enough or I just didn't put on enough, either way I got burned on my shoulders, ears and face.  Third, I overheated, 'nuff said.  

I chalk it all up to lessons learned, and I move forward with new information and a new experience to write about.

Most runners, if not all, will at some time in their running career have to train or race in hot weather.   How do they prepare or get acclimated to the warmer temps?

The first thing is a no-brainer, drink water and lots of it!  Make sure you are well hydrated, especially in the days leading up to your race. You may want to purchase a fuel/water belt to wear.  Caution: don't drink too much water while running, it is best to take small drinks every few miles or so rather than big drinks, or you may end up with hyponatremia or water poisoning.  This is where the normal balance of electrolytes is pushed beyond the limits of safety.

Wear light colored clothing.  Black may be a slimming color but it only intensifies the heat.  Light colors will reflect the sun off of you, unlike black clothing which absorbs the heat.

Wear a light weight hat or visor, to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your face.  If you wear a hat you can fill it with ice at an aid station during a race, or from your home when training.

When trying to acclimate yourself to warmer temps, go slowly and be prepared.  For example, if your from a colder climate area like Alaska but are training for a race in California, you will need to get your body used to warmer weather before race day.  One way you could do this is by running inside on a treadmill with the heat on.  Another way to do this is more expensive but you could go somewhere warmer and train there.

Another thing to remember is electrolytes.  When we run in warmer weather our bodies loose electrolytes through our sweat.  Carry a good source with you, like non-energy electrolyte tablets from Nuun.

Lastly, slow down.  Training or racing in the heat is much harder on your body and you must slow your speed down in order to finish well. You may have a time goal you want to achieve but when it comes to warm/hot weather racing or training you will probably need to adjust it. It takes more effort to train or race in warmer temps than it does in cooler temps, just like it takes more effort when running up hills.  If you prepare properly and adjust your time, you'll not only finish your race, you'll do better than those who were ill-prepared.

Godspeed...this comes from the Middle English expression "God spede (you)", a wish for success and fortune for one setting out on an enterprise, voyage, adventure, or travels. It may also mean good luck. 

"Limitations only exist if you let them"

© 2012 Shannon M. King. This publication is the exclusive property of Shannon M. King and is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Shannon M. King. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. First congrats on being a survivor!
    Great advice. I just try to run early or late because I don't like to run in the heat of the day. I don't sweat like the average person so I overheat quickly.
    Happy Saturday :)


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