Training for Success in Extreme Summer Heat

After months of snow and chill, warmer weather is setting in, which means one thing: race season! Through marathons, ultras and centuries, from spring to fall, we’ll be following athletes across the country as they compete. If the last few years are any indicator, the warmer weather that’s rolling in will be more like a sweltering sauna by summer. Just like you train to avoid injury and improve skill, you need to make sure you’re training to cope with extreme heat. To ensure you cross finish lines rather than sit on the sidelines, we have some tips on how to beat the heat this year.

  • Train early or late: Some of us run during lunch, or cycle for a while as soon as we leave the office. To avoid the hottest parts of the day, try getting your outdoor training done early in the morning or just before sundown.
  • Move inside: We know, you just trained inside all winter. If you can avoid the heat, though, a treadmill or stationary bike may be the best training solution until things cool down or your schedule loosens up.
  • Stay hydrated: Be aware of dehydration during hot months and ensure you’re replacing both fluids and electrolytes. Sports drinks or electrolyte infused water are helpful. Bring along extra, or plan your route so that you can pick up more along the way.
  • Plan a shady route:  Try to plan your outdoor training on roads or paths shaded by trees or run at times when surrounding buildings or landscape will cast shadows over your route. The temperature in the shade will be several degrees lower than in direct sunlight.
  • Acclimate to hot-weather training: Over a 10- to 14-day period, gradually increase the duration and degree of training outdoors in the heat. Give your body time to acclimate to exertion in hotter temperatures.
  • Be visible and accessible: During really hot training sessions, plan your route along well-traveled areas where you’ll be visible in the event of an emergency. Also, if at all possible, keep your cellphone with you in case you need to call for assistance.

Remember, the body loses some efficiency in extreme cold and extreme heat alike. Train hard and train smart! What tips do you have for training in the summer heat? Has extreme heat impacted how you train or compete? Join the conversation below. 



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