Worried about training, or indeed even racing, in the heat? Don’t be!
Respect the heat but do not fear it. Head Coach Ralph has put together an extensive guide to help you:
STAY SAFE IN THE HEAT
It’s important to remember that high temperatures and humidity can be dangerous so listen to your body and pay extra attention to hydration and nutrition. Here are some tips to help you perform at your best and recover in hot conditions.
Focus on nutrition and hydration*
In the heat pay extra attention to hydration. Make sure you are well hydrated. Drink water along with electrolytes. A good indicator of being well hydrated is if your urine is a light lemonade/yellow not a dark colour. If your urine is dark, drink more fluids with electrolytes.
Focus on healthy eating over the coming days so your body has the right nutrients and is not straining to process excess amounts or unneeded fats.
Pre-training sip regularly on an electrolyte drink. Be careful not to over hydrate. Using electrolyte helps minimise risk of hyponatremia.
Keep sipping electrolyte up to 15 minutes before and have a gel (if doing more than 40 minutes of intense activity). You may even want to have a gel (cube or some other form of energy with electrolyte) 20-30 minutes in and then every 40-60 minutes.
Take fluids throughout your training. (Make sure you know where you can refill as well along route, and at the moment that may mean taking a mask/gloves/ wipes with you to safely go to shops and disinfect bottles of fluids you buy)
Post session, drink fluids with electrolyte and eat a good source of protein to help recovery. If you can’t get home to eat quickly use a protein shake or stop and get a good quality ice cream (Frozen Protein Shake J). Later eat a good source of protein like chicken, lean beef or salmon with vegetables and a little carbohydrate.
Dress for the weather and protect from the sun
As humidity impairs your bodies cooling by making it harder for sweat to evaporate off your body. Make sure you wear technical fabrics that will help wick sweat away from your body.
If the sun is out, wear light colours that don’t absorb heat Additionally consider using the following to help protect;
Headwear: (hat, visor, neck-sleeve or other similar head cover)
Peaked caps with kepi backs, and necksleeves, will keep the sun off your head, neck and face, and at night will help limit heat loss through your head.
Long sleeves or arms sleeves: Light, long sleeve tops or arm sleeves that reflect heat will help body temperature control. Some sleeves are made from fabric that purports to wick perspiration from the skin while providing UPF 50+ protection from the sun. They also provide additional insulation in the evenings.
Sunglasses: Play an important role in protecting the eyes from the sun’s rays. Research shows that such protection helps maintain running stride length and form, by ensuring visual acuity and therefore confidence in our forward movement.
Sun cream: There are many sun creams to choose from and these are the features to look for: § UVA and UVB protection § Water and sweat resistance § An SPF rating of 30 or higher § A physical sunscreen (i.e. ‘sunblock’ that reflects UV, as opposed to chemical sunscreen that absorbs the rays and converts them into heat)
Pre-cool, cooling during and post for really hard sessions
Before the start of the session, bring your core body temp down if you can. – Put the AC on at home or in the car on the way – the night before wet a couple towels and put them in the freezer.
Before the start of your session you can use one to help cool you down. (You can use the other one post session to cool down).
Make yourself a sports drink or a drink with ice and then have just before the session. This will help cool internal body temp and delay onset of heat effects.
Take on fluids throughout the session and if you can carry enough or create a looped session (from car or home) pour water over your head as well. This well help cool by increasing evaporation.
Remember in heat and humid your pace/speed will be slower than normal
Try to run/bike the feel of your intended session/effort (easy/steady/hard/etc), not your normal pace/speed. You know what it feels like to push yourself hard (say for running 5 or 10km effort at different paces). Training to this feel, rather than your normal pace or heart rate (as heart rate is massively affected by heat) should help keep you running well.
Don’t try to push yourself beyond the feeling of the normal effort you are aiming for.
If you are participating in any virtual Races or races.
The heat and humidity are a real mental challenge* Don’t worry about the fact you may be slower, race your feel, stay on top of keeping hydrated, fuelled and cooled.
Try to train at coolest time of day
Try to train in early morning or late evening when temperatures are at their coolest.
Be careful, in extreme heat, the UK’s road surfaces can often melt slightly creating slick or sticky sections, causing a dangerous surface to ride on and also sticky to tyres and gearing on the bike.
Post race – cool and refuel
Bring your body temperature down gradually
Don’t shock your body by doing straight into the car ac or freezing buildings.
Cool down by slow walking and hydrating.
Poor water over your head and neck, use the frozen towel as mentioned above.
Also dry yourself with a towel (not the wet frozen one) to get excess fluid off skin.
Be safe and have fun.
If you have any questions please reach out to Ralph who will be glad to help.