Coach Culpepper: Beat The Summer Heat

Warm-Weather Training Tips

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Most runners do not have a clear understanding of how much fluid they are actually taking in before, during and after exercise. For the majority of the year, you can get away with drinking less than optimal amounts of fluids and not suffer ill effects. But during the warmer months, adequate hydration becomes critical. Not only does appropriate hydration improve the effectiveness of training, but it also grossly affects how you feel during your training and how quickly you recover.

It’s easy to assume you are drinking enough because you are following your standard daily routine. But what is probably happening is you’ve become accustomed to a perpetual state of cumulative dehydration. Without proper hydration, training will become less productive and injury much more likely, especially during the heat of summer. It takes about 20 minutes to actually absorb the fluid you are taking in, so drinking large amounts right before you head out the door will not take effect until several miles into a run. Many runners wonder why they don’t feel good for several miles early in a run or why their heart rate is elevated at the start. Dehydration is often the primary cause.

RELATED: Hydration Tips From 26 Strong

Slow Down
I am rarely an advocate of super slow running and almost never one to endorse loafing along just to get the time on your feet. However, when it comes to warm-weather training and harder workouts, it makes sense to slow down in order to complete a session.

There is a tendency to try to hit the prescribed time and subsequently cut the workout short. Ultimately it will prove more beneficial to slow down and get in the entire workout instead of trying to hit the times and suffer the detrimental effects of the heat. Your heart rate will go up as the body heats up and often the only option is to slow down. Taking in fluids during the workout will help, but overall it will be more beneficial to simply back off a bit and finish the session.

Give Yourself A Break
If you are feeling particularly beat down by the heat either physically or emotionally, then give yourself a break. Factor in a few days indoors on a treadmill or an easy day in the pool to give yourself some reprieve. Among the obvious signs you need a bit of a break are struggling to hold your standard daily pace for several days or that your heart rate is 5-10 beats higher than usual. It’s amazing how much better you will feel when you give your system a few days to truly recover from the heat.

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