Like it or not, the summer heat is here, but it doesn’t have to put an end to your training plans. It takes on average a few weeks for the body to become acclimated to the increased heat, and if you keep your normal training routine, this will happen naturally.
The heat and humidity affect your workouts by making your efforts seem harder than usual (your easy pace may feel like a hard pace) and your heart rate increases due to the body having to work harder at keeping cool and keeping moving.
However, there are tips to training safely during the heated days of summer.
1. If your schedule allows… run/ride in the early morning. This is the coolest part of the day and the air quality is usually better. And even better… it’s a positive way to start your day!
2. Run/ride at a slower pace since your body is working harder; but extend your distance to compensate for the slower pace. NOTE: Please make sure to stay well hydrated during the extended time period. What may usually take you an hour to ride may increase to 1 1/2 or more hours. You will need to plan ahead on hydration (before and during the run/ride).
3. If you have planned intervals for your training session, adjust the intervals to shorter work periods and increased rest periods. Or if this is your long run/ride day, you can break the distance in halves or thirds to give yourself a break in-between to rest, cool off, and re-hydrate properly.
4. And finally… drink, drink, drink. No, not the fun, sit by the pool with an umbrella drink. Water and electrolyte replacement drinks will be key to your summer training success. Remember also, that for your body to properly cool, work under stress, and also recover, it needs to stay hydrated. That means not only drinking fluids while your are training but also before and after throughout the day. You can simply check your urine as a test. If it is a color like apple juice instead of pale yellow, you are dehydrated and need to consume more liquids.
The dog days of summer will pass all too quickly and soon we will be running and riding in the glorious cool fall days. Until then, take precautions, adjust accordingly, and most importantly… keep training!