5 Tips for Training in Hot Weather
"And the heat—my God, the heat!"
If you were a faithful fan of the '90s sitcom Seinfeld, you'll recognize this classic line said by Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). If you run during the summer, you can certianly identify with her statement. Here are five tips to properly train in warm weather conditions.
- Slowly Adapt to the Seasons
Start building your fitness in the spring before the first major heatwave hits. As it starts getting warmer, do shorter and slower-than-normal workouts. Each hot day try to go a little farther and a little faster. In about 10 days your body should fully acclimatize to the heat, allowing you to train close to normal throughout the summer.
- Go for an Early or Late Run
To avoid the highest temperatures of the day, consider training early in the morning or late in the evening—or both depending on your training schedule. Not only will you be able to run a little closer to your normal pace, you’ll feel more comfortable, too.
- Try Pre-Cooling
Research shows athletes perform better in hot environments when they cool their bodies beforehand. So, turn your air conditioning down low or spend time in a cool bath before you head out the door.
- Dress to Sweat
Sweating is the body’s primary cooling mechanism, so make sure you are wearing clothes that help what your body is naturally equipped to do. Avoid wearing cotton T-shirts (which trap heat and sweat). Instead wear technical apparel made from moisture-wicking fabrics (e.g., CoolMax®). Light colors and pieces with SPF protection are also good choices.
- Keep Hydrated
Staying hydrated while working out in warmer weather will help keep your blood volume close to normal levels, which in turn keeps your sweat rate high. Hydration = better performance.
Above all, listen to your body. Take inventory of any fatigue, lightheadedness, disorientation, and nausea you are experiencing as these and other indicators are symptoms of heat illness. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, stop and find a cool environment to sit down and relax.
Tell us in the comments what training tips you find work best in hot weather.