Racing in the heat isn’t something we are faced with all that often, but when it does hit, it can be a shock to the system. We spend so much of the time moaning about training and racing in the freezing cold, that we forget how to cope when it gets very hot. We forget being too hot is even a thing!
Training in the heat isn’t something that can always be avoided. If we have training every day and racing multiple times a month, it is very unlikely that we will always be able to avoid training in the heat.
How do I deal with the heat?
When it is hot, I am not one to shy away. If anything, I prefer to run in the heat compared to the cold. As time as gone on, I have learnt how important it is to hydrate myself well on hot days if I have a big session to do or a race later in the day. It can be difficult to take on enough water during a session, and you don’t want to have to drink during a race if possible, therefore I try and drink a lot throughout the day, before and after.
Additionally, if I am away on holiday somewhere hot, I tend to wake up slightly earlier and get my training done before the sun comes out and gets too powerful. Whilst I appreciate this can’t always be done, as we don’t want to wake up at 4am on holiday, I try to do it as early as is reasonably possible. When abroad, the sun can tend to rise very early, doing it as early as possible is far better than training in the midday heat.
I also do my upmost to avoid training on the road and opt for grass. Concrete tends to retain heat and therefore feels even hotter and can make you feel even hotter. The grass can be a lot cooler, making it much more pleasant to train on. Another tip, which tends to only be possible on holiday, or if you are lucky enough to have a pool, jump into the water as soon as you get back from a run. This helps cool you down! Unfortunately, I have to opt for a cool shower instead. (not cold, as I can’t face a cold shower even if I’m boiling!!)
However, I have found it beneficial to get some of my sessions done in the heat. This way, my body can get used to running fast in the heat, and it doesn’t come as a complete surprise if I am faced with a scorching day on race day. Yesterday was a prime example. It was hotter than ideal for a fast track session, but I got it done and it was good to expose my body to those sorts of conditions.
When it comes to racing in the heat, I try and warm up in a shaded area and not for longer than necessary. It is important for me to only spend essential time in the heat in the build-up to a race. I try and save my energy for coping with the heat during the race.
Oh, and wear as little as possible, whilst still being decent! A crop top and shorts are perfect for keeping cool, without having sweaty material rubbing on your stomach or under your armpits. Men, don’t shy away from going without a top, you’ll be thankful for it mid-session when it’s boiling!
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!