Training in heat and high humidity places extra strain on your body whenever you are exercising outdoors. Not only does effort feel harder, but your body actually has to work harder to regulate your core temperature, meaning that your performance can be hindered by various factors.
With the warmer months coming up, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do before, during, and post training to help you perform and recover better when exercising in the heat.
If you know it’s going to be a hot training session, you can preemptively cool. One of the best ways to do this is by sipping on some electrolytes blended with ice, so you’re essentially making your own hydration slushy! By having little ice chips melt to liquid in your stomach, you’ll be able to better absorb heat energy than just plain ice water.
Prepping your hydration and fueling products before long runs or before a race is a key part of calming race nerves and can greatly benefit your performance. If you choose a liquid fuel option like Skratch SuperFuel, NUUN Endurance or CarboRocket 333 Half Evil All in One Endurance Drink, we recommend monitoring the concentration of your carb mix drink. Normally, we want your drink concentration to be within 5-15%, however, on hot days, we actually want to bring that range down closer to 6-8% concentration so that your gut can better tolerate the liquid carbs .
When choosing carb options for either liquid or solid fuel options, be sure to choose high glycemic or fast digesting carbs so that your gut has to do less work to break down those fuel sources. If you want to learn more about different carb options, check out this blog post where we break down everything you need to know about sports fuel.
As a part of that prep work before training or racing, you can also freeze the electrolytes you plan to consume. Create a hydration slushy for your running bottle, or you can also mix up electrolytes the night before and pour the mix into your ice cube tray. The next morning, place the ice cubes into your bottle for your exercise. Here
Here’s extra tip! You can also wrap your bottles in tin foil to improve the reflection of heat off of your bottle.
Don’t forget that you can also freeze most gels as well, BUT be sure to try this before race day to ensure that you’re still able to squeeze the gel out and eat it while training or racing!
While on course, you can also help your body cool down externally by pouring water on yourself. Do NOT use ice water because this can actually cause vasoconstriction, thereby causing warm blood to get pushed back into the core, rather than to your skin surface to help cool you down. Instead, you should bring along plain water for this. You ideally want to place the water on your head, neck, hands, forearms, and shins/feet if you’re able. These areas are where your blood vessels are closest to the surface of the skin, thereby allowing your body to pull heat off your body via evaporation.
Always. Recover. Post. Exercise.
Whether its an easy training day, a hard one, or race day, post-workout recovery is essential for both your health and your longevity in sport. Training stress on your body can often reduce your appetite and with high heat and/or high humidity conditions, this may exacerbate your lack of appetite. Although you may not want a full meal, we recommend at least trying to take in an easy recovery shake with a good mix of carbs and protein. For hotter days, try making your recovery shake smoothie or slushy style by including a bunch of ice cubes into your blender.
What To Do Next
If you want to learn more about training in the heat, check out our Heat & Elevation Training Guide!
If you want to fine tune your nutrition for training or racing in the heat, be sure to click here to book a FREE 15 minute phone call to speak with one of our practitioners today!