Don't Mess With the HEAT
By Tara Postnikoff, Healthy Eating Active Living
The thermostat was dialed up last week with a rapid change in weather here in Toronto. As great as the warmer weather is, we need to be prepared for these changes and how they will affect your workouts, especially early season when we aren’t as adapted to the heat as we are by the end of the summer. Heat adds additional stress to the body which will result in elevated heart rate, increase core body temp, elevated perceived exertion and increased sweat volume and possibly sweat sodium concentration. This will make even easy workouts seem hard, and hard workouts seem harder. Humidity adds another element of stress because your body can’t adequately use your sweat to cool you down. In humid conditions overhydration is a real risk as we tend to drink more fluids in efforts to cool down but without the sweat being able to be wicked away this process can actually lead to low blood sodium levels if we don’t match fluid intake with salt intake.
Here are some tips for adjusting your training with the heat:
Get out early or late. Get out before it really heats up or wait until the sun goes down to get your training in to take advantage of cooler temperatures.
Slow down. Try doing your training by effort / RPE vs pace and power. It’s ok to slow down by 15-45s per km to match the effort of the activity. Run by time and effort, not distance in these cases so you don’t exceed your recommended training volume. Check out the HEAT ADJUSTMENT tool from Kevin Smith at Marathon Dynamics: http://www.marathondynamics.com/display.php?page=RunningPaceAdjustment
Cover up. Use of cooling sleeves and protective clothing to keep the sun off your skin can be helpful. A hat or visor is great for keeping sun off your face and help reduce the feeling of heat.
Pre-cooling strategies. If you are going to go out and train in the heat try using pre-cooling strategies to reduce your core body temperature. This includes use of ice packs on your neck, wrists, arm pits for 5 mins before exercise as well as the ingestion of an ice-slurry pre exercise to cool your body from the inside out. Note that cold water itself won’t work, but the ice mixture will help reduce core temp faster as your body has to use heat to warm it up.
Hydrate. Practice proper hydration strategies for training by starting your training well hydrated. Carry fluids with you on all efforts, and re-hydrate as necessary post workout. Read Coach Tara’s full article on this here: https://www.heal-nutrition.com/summer-hydration/
Ultimately putting some thought and planning into when to do your workouts, matching them with the weather and practicing these strategies will help make sure you are setting yourself up for success. Get to know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke so you know what to look out for if you do get caught unprepared: