Heat can slow you down and impact you at a physiological level, and through various means including dehydration, increased heart rate, reduced blow flow (and oxygen!), as well as contribute to cramps, and exhaustion.
Unfortunately, those at a higher risk of heat illness include those that are overweight, dehydrated, under-conditioned or very muscular. Symptoms to be mindful of when training in the heat include extreme thirst, dizziness, headaches, profuse sweating, weak and rapid pulse, and gray, cool, clammy skin.
Here are our top 8 tips for training in the heat:
- Hydration- Sweating is normal, but you can become easily dehydrated. You normally lose approximately 1 to 2 L a day generally, and with training/competition, especially in the heat, it means you will lose more. When your fluid levels drop, your body’s cooling methods like perspiration etc don't work efficiently, and you could have a harder time controlling your body temperature. It can also be detrimental to performance, some suggest that a drop of 2% of body weight fluid, can lead to a 4 to 6% drop in performance. So stay hydrated! Prepare not only for the day, but leading up to your event or training i.e. hydration the day before your session or event. A great tip is to freeze some of your bottle or bladder keeping your water colder for longer, or preparing some electrolytes, especially on those longer training sessions or events.
- Make adjustments!- Don’t plan your long or higher-intensity workouts during the hottest part of the day. If you have to train in the middle of the day, particularly outdoors, although not recommended, try and stick to shady areas if possible. Also adjust your intensity, its normal to move slower in extreme heat, and accomodate for a good warm up and cool down.
- Time of day- Try and get your sessions done early in the morning, or later in the evening to avoid heat stroke and dehydration. Staying out of the sun, especially during the peak times, will also reduce your risk of sunburn and skin cancers.
- Clothing- Wear lightly coloured and lightweight clothing, especially if it has vents/mesh. Also make sure to wear a hat, good sunscreen and sunglasses!
- Acclimatisation- Give your body time to acclimatise to the heat, some suggest your body could take 8 to 14 days to acclimatise to hot weather. Either way, you want to slowly progress the length and intensities of your workouts.
- Effort- Base sessions of an RPE, or ratings of perceived exertion (a scale of 0 to 10, 10 being 100% flat on the floor type of exertion!). By focusing on your feelings of effort rather then splits and times during session in the heat is a much better way of basing your session. In hot weather, you will be slower and you will also become fatigued quicker, so adjust your session plan/ event race accordingly. Performing two days back to back of training in the heat might also not be a good idea, but again base your training sessions on how you feel not only during the session, but how you pull up from one as well!
- Cross training- Change up one of your sessions with a pool session. You can perform the same workout duration in the pool, i.e. lap swimming, or running interval session and some technique focus with the use of a flotation belt. This will also help to reduce injury risk by reducing load. Again, early morning or late evenings would be a good time if you are going to use an outdoor pool.
- Medications and alcohol- Be mindful of your medication and alcohol use. They may have a dehydrating effect, and may also increase your urination output, again putting you at risk of dehydration. Keep this in mind when planning your sessions or events!
If you would like more information about our tips, require treatment to get you back on track, or would like to undergo functional movement assessment please contact us on 0422 873 667 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book a consultation or assessment online here.