Champion Dash

Tips For Training In Hot Weather (part 1)

Training in hot weather is not always pleasant, but it’s not always avoidable, either. If you live in an area where the summers are toasty and you want to be in peak shape for a fall race, then you have to get out there. While training in the heat is not as enjoyable as running on cool days, it need not be any riskier. Heat illness is relatively rare among endurance athletes, and if you take the following precautions, it will never happen to you.

1. Listen to your body.

Early signs and symptoms of heat illness include fatigue, discomfort, lightheadedness, cessation of sweating, disorientation and nausea. Stop exercising and find a cool environment as quickly as possible if you begin to notice any of these signs or symptoms while exercising in the heat.

2. Take baby steps.

The fitter you are, the better your body can tolerate exercise in the heat, so try to build your fitness to a high level in the spring, before the first heat wave of the year. When the first really hot day comes, do a shorter- and slower-than-normal workout. On each subsequent hot day go a little farther and a little faster. It takes about 10 days for the body to fully acclimatize to the heat. The body adapts by increasing its sweating capacity and reducing the electrolyte concentration of the sweat to boost your ability to maintain a safe core body temperature. After this process is complete you can train more or less normally through the summer.

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3. Slow down.

Research has shown that the brain protects the body during exertion in the heat by constantly monitoring the core body temperature and limiting muscle activity to prevent the core body temperature from rising to dangerous levels. (It’s actually the heat produced by the muscles, not environmental heat, which causes heat illness to occur. Environmental heat merely prevents body heat from dissipating.) So don’t expect or try to perform at the same level on hot days. Instead, maintain your normal level of exertion and understand that you will not go as fast at this level of exertion as on cooler days.

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