Every summer this question comes up: how can I safely train during the dog days of summer when the mercury is hitting triple digits?
- The initial, primary response is simple and somewhat obvious: hydrate. Keeping hydrated is important all year and cannot be stressed enough. It is especially important when you will be sweating up to a quart of fluid out of your system during your run. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with drinking 1.5-2 gallons of water throughout the course of your day to prepare your system for your training run. At first, this will also cause you to have to run to the restroom on a regular basis, but you’ll adapt.
- Secondarily (and also a somewhat obvious answer) you should look to change when you run. If you can run first thing in the morning, that’s the best, as it’s the coolest time of the day. Second best is at night as the sun is setting or has set. There was a summer during my high school years when I accomplished my entire summer training between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. My parents hated it! It’s a tough schedule to maintain, so if it doesn’t work for you, find one that does.
- If you’re running on a loop, you can leave a water bottle at one point so that you can douse yourself in water and take a couple of sips during your run. One place to pour cool water is on the veins in your wrists. This will cool your blood and, as it runs through your bloodstream, it will cool the rest of your body.
- Another trick is to take a cold shower right before you head out the door for your run. By pre-cooling your body, you are giving your system that much longer before it reaches the overheating stage. Famed coach Alberto Salazar gave his athletes ice vests to wear before their events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. If you remember, the staggering heat was a big topic of conversation before those Games, and Salazar wanted to make sure his team had every advantage possible. An ice vest (or cooling vest) will cost you close to $200, so an inexpensive replacement is a cold shower.
- Some people like to retreat to the indoors and the treadmill when the temps get high. Personally, I can’t stand running on a treadmill, but it is an option if you can swing it. Go for it!
- Whatever method you choose to beat the heat, be smart and listen to your body. If at any point you stop sweating, stop exercise immediately and get water in your system. Also, try to run in shaded areas. As always, good luck!
- For more information about Trainer Will, including how he can give you private, personalized coaching as you train for your next race, including the 7 Bridges Marathon, 4 Bridges Half Marathon or 2 Bridges 5k, visit http://runCHA.co/ today.