Episode 60 – Must Read Tips For Training In The Heat
Training in the heat is not for everyone. But if you must, be smart!
There are many factors to consider when training in the heat. Temperature, humidity, and intensity of the weather can adversely affect your body, mind and overall health.
The main point is to avoid training in the heat unless you must! If you must, read on! In this article, let’s discuss the dangers of heat training and what to consider when training in the heat.
What’s the danger of heat training?
The following are possible dangers of training in the heat:
- Dehydration – You use bodily fluids (ie. sweat) to keep your body temperature within the right range. If you’re in a hot environment, you will lose water through excessive sweat putting you at risk of dehydration. This might cause you to experience muscle cramps, dryness in the mouth, and even vomit making you even more susceptible to heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
- Heat stroke – This is even worse than dehydration. When your core temperature becomes too high, your body will overheat. This can lead to short-term mental issues, such as disorientation, which might cause you feel weak and confused. It may even lead to sudden collapse or fainting. It is important to cool down as quickly as possible, by getting soaked in water or putting ice or cold water on areas of high blood flow (e.g. neck, groin, underarms) in addition to proper hydration.
- Heat Exhaustion – When training for long periods of time, such as in an ultra marathon and full day carnivals, you become susceptible to heat exhaustion. At this stage, your body needs to rest in addition to the appropriate cooling and rehydration strategies.
If you don’t need to, don’t train in the heat. Instead choose an indoor option or reschedule the session for another time and day. Furthermore, if you’re a parent or a coach of children, avoid letting them train in the heat. They get “hotter” quicker and are more susceptible to safety risk.
They are at a higher risk of danger because their:
- Body surface area isn’t as big as an adult’s, and
- Thermoregulation hasn’t been fully developed.
What do you do if you must train in the heat? Read on.
…But if you must!
If you’re a professional, well acclimatized, or experienced at training in heat, or if you absolutely must, consider the following factors to minimize your health and safety risks:
- Shorter duration
Simply cut down the session time so you don’t overwork yourself.
- Lower intensity
Reduce the amount of effort you exert, particularly if you need to endure for longer periods of time. So instead of doing 100% intensity, do a walk through learning session or train at 50%.
- Train in the earlier or later part of the day
Avoid the hottest part of the day by training at either earlier or later hours. The sun is at its apex between 11am to 2pm – don’t train then.
- Take more frequent breaks
This would allow more time for fluid intake and shade time. Ice down and / or stand in the shade while you recover to allow for more adequate rest.
- Make sure there’s airflow
Ventilation is important for assisting thermo-regulation (or better control of your body temperature). “Moving air” helps the sweat on your body to evaporate faster creating a cooling effect.
- Watch where you train
The material of the surface you train on can affect how hot you feel. Darker surfaces are generally hotter than others. For example, concrete can be a problem as it stores heat as with asphalt and clay surfaces. Instead opt for real grass or indoors areas with AC.
- Wear light clothing
Opt for lighter clothing – in both weight and in color. Loose and breathable material is more comfortable while white and light-colored clothes reflect light as opposed to absorbing it.
- Be sun safe
Also always use sunscreen and hats when appropriate as well.
- Always be prepared
Get these ready:
- Have a medical professional on site
- Always have an ample supply of water
- Have quick access to first aid kits.
- Be aware of the nearest hospital, and the easiest way navigate there – in case of any emergency.
- If you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications, make sure to consult your doctor first about your situation.
Don’t get exposed
Being exposed to the heat, especially when you’re training, should not be taken lightly. If you’re an organizer or planner of events that deal with hot conditions, such as a marathon or tournament day organizer or even just a team coach you are especially responsible taking the appropriate safety measures. Always remember to take care of your body – and know your limits. Safe training!
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Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.