It’s the season of long days, hot sun and sweaty runs! Training in the summer presents an interesting challenge to athletes, especially Canadian athletes who were dealing with training in a polar vortex a few short months ago.
Heat training can be tricky as it increases your perceived exertion as well as increasing your heart rate, reduced blood flow and oxygen to muscles and dehydration. Training in the heat as an athlete can be rewarding but it is important to be cautious in order to have a safe workout. I have compiled my favourite tricks to stay hydrated, strong and happy while training in the summer heat!
Before Your Run:
1. Hydrate – This seems like a no brainer but make sure you consume adequate fluids before heading out on your run. I like to add some electrolytes to my water to make sure I am replacing lost sodium and potassium. Check out this hydration calculator to see how many glasses you should be consuming daily.
2. Alternate Your Training Times – Summer is a perfect time to experiment with training times. It is cooler to train in the morning or evening so feel free to switch it up. Keep in mind that training in the middle of the day, although uncomfortable, can actually increase your times when switching back to cooler weather. Putting in 1 – 3 runs in the heat can actually benefit your training. Read more here.
3. Dress Accordingly – It is best to wear apparel that is light in colour, light weight and has vents or mesh. Microfiber polyester is a good fabric choice and I suggest wearing a hat, sun glasses, water proof sunscreen and light, comfortable running apparel.
During Your Run:
4. Adjust Your Mindset – Training in the heat will affect your overall speed. Your body is both powering your workout and attempting to keep your body cool, which means you are working that much harder to cool yourself, on top of exerting effort to train. Knowing this, it is helpful to cut yourself some slack if you are slower than you would be in temperate weather.
5. Mix in Pool Running – If running in the heat of the day isn’t possible, switch it up with some pool running! It is a great way to stay cool and still reap maximum training benefits, even in the heat of the summer and it’s also great cross-training to stay injury-free.
6. Bring a Friend – If you are headed out on a long run, it may be wise to train with a friend. You are less likely to focus on the temperatures and more on catching up! Also, this is a way to stay safe in your training by having someone there if something goes wrong.
After Your Run:
7. Seek Shade – If you are running in the heat, it is best to get out of direct sunlight as soon as possible. Cool down under a shady tree or head inside to recover.
8. Hydrate (Again) – It is easy to become dehydrated in the heat of the sun. Make sure you have a glass of water as soon as possible after completing the run. I like to make recovery popsicles with coconut water, North Coast Naturals Fermented L-Glutamine and fruit.
9. Dry Off – Change out of those sweaty workout clothes into something light and clean. Not only will you feel a million times better, but it helps to prevent chafing.
Jessica is an avid runner, racer and latte lover with a passion for the ultra distances. When she is not travelling and exploring, she also is passionate about advocating for healthy body image in women and uses her sister’s decade-long struggle with anorexia as way to raise awareness for healthy nutrition in athletes. You can learn more on her blog: lacesandlattes.com