Heat Training

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It is not easy running in this summer heat and humidity. It takes 11 training runs to start to acclimate to a very hot environment. Try to take it easy, especially in the beginning and hydrate of course. I recently did a 100-mile bike ride in 98.7 average degree weather. It was not easy by any means. I just listened to my body and went slow when needed to and picked up the pace when I felt I safely could. I completed the ride with a 14.1 moving average. I rode in Waxhaw NC which have some good hills. That ride really gave my confidence a boost.

Eating while working in the extreme heat. This is obviously a big challenge. I found that the Ensure Protein Plus drinks worked very well. It was easy to drink even when I was very hot. I drank it in small increments to avoid an upset stomach. That worked out well. I also ate a banana and a turkey and cheese wrap that I made at home. I would eat when I was feeling really tired and that seemed to revive me. I put an electrolyte supplement in my water and sipped that as much as possible throughout the ride.

The sun and heat are intense. Use sunscreen to avoid further burning and adding to the already extreme conditions. Stop and take breaks as needed. No point and busting through a hard run or ride to just pass out right after.

Recovery is important and I believe it starts on the ride or runs. You have to listen to your body and not over do it. It is one thing to train hard and get stronger BUT its another thing to go past your abilities and cause more harm than necessary. When I start to feel weak and dizzy I back off a little. I’ll replenish with food and water or take a break. I am not a professional so I am not out there training to break any records. I am training to build confidence and get stronger. Remember that races are 65% mental. I personally believe that the percentage is higher but good training and nutrition are also very important. When you are out there you are training your mind to overcome obstacles. Learning how it feels to push through the hills when it’s dreadfully hot out. Feel your heart beat and respiration and feel when they come back down to a comfortable level. Learn how you work and operate. No one can teach you that. You just have to go out there and train. Then when race day comes you have worked through all the issues and know how you personally can best adapt to them.

Experiment with water and electrolytes to see what works best for you. My friend drinks pickle juice and that won’t work for me. I like watermelon and MeStrength electrolytes. When you are out there and need a high level of hydration you have to see what works best. If that is taking salt regularly and HEED then go train with it. That does not work at all for me and I know that because of experimenting.

Eat when you can! I don’t recommend eating total junk on long training runs/rides but if chips pick you up when you need it, go for it. When you find what works in training use it on the race. I personally love BonkBreaker Bars. You can get them on Amazon or at a Bike shop. They seem to have the right amount of calories, sugar, and vitamins to give a noticeable boost when I need it. I have had races when it was difficult to even eat that so I would have one bite when I could and even that helped a lot. Experiment and then document. Write down what works AND what doesn’t. It’s important to remember what didn’t work at all and why. Don’t waste time making the same mistakes over and over.

I highly recommend eating vegetables while recovering, training, before and after a race. Whatever diet you are on that works for you…Great! Just add the vegetables to it. Before a race, I increase the saute cabbage, salads, and spinach. I feel a noticeable increase in energy and strength.

Hope some of this has been helpful. Happy training!

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