Summer 2018. I heard somebody say today that it is expected to be an extra HOT summer in Texas this year. To me it's always hot in Texas, but I love it. For others, well they want to work out indoors or in the shade and I totally get that.
As endurance athletes we have to be careful in the heat. I have seen many cases of heat sickness at races or in training sessions. So as we enter the summer months, here are my top 5 suggestions for you to BEAT THE HEAT this summer.
1. Get up EARLY. It's the BEST time to train even when it's not hot. Before sun up is best. There are a slew of other benefits to working out early. Nothing in your day can take away your run at 5:30 in the morning.
2. Drink a slushy before your workout. I read one time in Runner's World that drinking a cold slushy or icee drink can actually lower your core body temperature by 2 degrees BEFORE you start to run or workout.
3. Wear a cooling vest. It's kind of like an ice wrap for your core. I read a study published in Journal of Athletic Training (Oct-Dec 2006) Researchers concluded that wearing an ice vest before cross-country performance in warm, humid conditions allowed athletes to start and finish the competition with a lower core temperature than did those who did not wear a vest. If you check out some of the vests on Amazon.com there are a variety of different vests to choose from. For me personally, I would choose a light weight one.
4. Run in the shade. This makes your run MUCH nicer and you'll be able to go longer when not in direct sun.
5. Keep a cold water bottle with you or stage your water bottles. I always freeze my water bottles the night before, get up early, and stage them along my loop. By the time I finish my second lap, my bottles are still nice and cold even though the ice has melted significantly. Wearing an icy cold water bottle on a belt is an added plus if that doesn't bother you as you run. For workouts longer than 30 minutes, drink a sports drink containing electrolytes and sodium.
6. Wear clothing that wicks away moisture to keep you cooler. Protect your skin and eyes with a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection.
7. Become heat adapted. As the temperatures heat up, you may find that going at your normal fast pace is much harder. You may want to use perceived exertion instead of HR ranges until your body adapts to the heat. Allow yourself to start out slow and acclimate to the higher temperatures.
Be SMART. Just like a car, your body can overheat and stop working properly. Work on keeping your core temperature down to avoid heat sickness.
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