Fall racing season typically means one thing, training in the heat of summer. I say often to the athletes I coach “Hot Summer = Fast Fall”.
Summer is fast approaching, days getting longer, and temperatures will begin to rise. Training in the heat is inevitable and in some cases practically unavoidable (I live in Las Vegas where heat is “normal”). If you are faced with training in the heat there are a few things to consider keeping yourself cool and safe while training.
The sun is at it highest point between the hours of 10am and 4pm. It is best to avoid these times. Always wear sunscreen and reapply. Rule of thumb, level of SPF = time of coverage. 30 SPF, reapply every 30 minutes. Wear white or light UV protective clothing (the Coolibar cooling fitness shirt I am wearing in the photo below is a perfect example) to reflect the sun’s rays. Dark colors absorb the heat. Wear a hat and UV protective sunglasses.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Know your sweat loss rate. Weigh yourself before and after a workout to know how much sweat you lose and replenish with this amount as well as taking in electrolyte sports drink during activity. Cramping is a sign of mineral loss so make sure you are taking in an electrolyte sports drink to keep you hydrated and replenish minerals lost in sweat.
Help keep the body cool by pouring cold water over pulse points in the wrist and back of the neck. Also pouring over the top of the head. A majority of the body’s heat is released through the top of the head. That being said if wearing a hat be sure to wear a ventilated one so heat can escape and is not trapped. There are cooling neckbands you can wear. In extreme heat situations I have frozen wristbands and worn them and continued to pour water over them. The absorbent nature keeping the cool water on my pulse points. I have participated in extreme heat races and they have provided ice towels and cooling stations.
Be aware of warning signs of heat stress and have an emergency plan in place (carry a phone, wear an ID bracelet like a 1BandID with emergency contact information).
Warning signs of heat stress and heat related illnesses (dehydration, hypernatremia, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps) include but are not limited to: muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion, cold and/or clammy skin, fainting, fast or weak pulse, hot red dry or moist skin, and even unconsciousness.
I mentioned before, wear sunscreen and reapply. I am a melanoma cancer survivor, being sun safe is important to me and my health. My personal favorite is KR Endurance team sponsor, RAW Elements USA. Reef safe, all natural and can be applied on wet skin (pool/sweat).
Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with playing it 100% safe and taking your training indoors. You won’t skip a beat in your training and you can train safely without the worry of sun damage and heat related stress and illnesses.
Feel free to contact me if you want more information on sun safety and training in the heat. Have a great summer!
~ Coach Kristie