Monday, June 14, 2010

Heat Training

I have spent a lot of my life in hot climates. Four years in Southern Louisiana, nine year in the Las Vegas desert and five years in Okinawa. All these places were very hot and in the case of Vegas, although not as humid, very extreme temperatures. I leaned a lot about training in the heat from my years of running in these climates.

To start with we were designed to not only survive but to thrive in these temperatures. Human civilization, according to what our best scholars can figure out, started in the hotter climates. We only later branched out to the other areas of the planet.

I learned that you need to stay hydrated all the time, keep a drink handy all day so you can drink some several times an hour. The old rule of thumb of 8 eight ounce glasses of water is a minimum. If you exercise in the heat every day that's not enough. Remember this: It's an old American Indian saying, "it's the water in your body that does you good, not the water in your canteen". Basicly that means if you are heading out into the heat for a hard workout you need to have all your required fluids in you not in a bottle you are going to be sipping during the workout.

I don't drink during a 5K and I will only occasionally take a drink during a 10K. But I will go into the race well hydrated and start drinking again as soon as the race is over. During a 10 mile or longer race I will hit all the aid stops and drink the Powerade or Gatorade, I drink that for the fluid but also the electrolytes and calories. Since you burn a 100 calories a mile, the calories from the sports drinks helps you feed your cells with easily digested sugars. Solid food takes to long to digest to do you any good. That's why Goos and Gels are so popular. Fruit will digest quickly also so a lot of longer races will have bananas and oranges on the course for the athletes.

Another observation I've noticed over the years is that sometime after the heat of the year starts that I will have a workout where I feel the heat really bad and I get a dizzy feeling. I will stop working out when this happens and cool down with water and shade or air conditioning if available. But after this happens once, my body handles the heat much better. It's like I'm feeling my body acclimate to the heat. This has happened many times and I've learned that untill it does I need to stay close to where I can get water and cool down. Once it happens I can start doing longer walks where I cover a lot of distance.

Heat is dangerous but heat is also not a reason to stop training. It just needs to be respected and you need to be prepared for how you will react to heat training. Stay hydrated and untill your sure of how the heat will affect you, stay close to help.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

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