With the heat of summer upon us, and the opportunity to sleep in a little later, your usual training session can begin to feel more difficult. Why is that? You’re fitter now than you were a few weeks ago. Training in warmer temperatures has a few caveats, but can have great benefits if you do it right. Here are four points to think about as you take on some hotter training sessions over the coming months.
- Start hydrated. Even more important than ingesting fluids on the go, your capacity to perform and run well is directly associated with how well hydrated you are when you take off. Your hydration status is quite simply the buffer between running comfortably and stopping at complete exhaustion – the bigger the buffer, the longer you’ll last. My thoughts on hydrating while exercising can be found here. Still more important than what you drink while you run is how well you replace fluids after the run! Coconut water is the perfect natural rehydration recovery drink.
- Get acclimatised. This has more relevance if you are travelling somewhere that is significantly warmer than your normal climate, or if you’re suddenly starting training again after a hiatus or a low volume period. It’s worth knowing that your body will take anywhere between 7-14 days to get comfortable with a new climate. This might take even longer if the temperature continues to increase over a period of a month or more. The next piece of advice will help you with acclimatising.
- Plan to train slower. Expect to fatigue quicker, too. It’s easier said than done, but you need to adjust your expectations in terms of speed/pace and distance. The heat will mean your heart rate is higher at a given speed. This is why the overall time you spend training is almost always more important than the actual distance you cover. Any programme written by James Kuegler Coaching will reflect this. What matters is the time you spend with your heart rate elevated. The physiological response will still happen as you recover, and you’ll be stronger for it. You can look to build speed as you get closer to the event and it begins to cool down.
- Enjoy the benefits! Over the past decade, exercising in the heat has been tipped as “the new altitude training” because of the desirable shifts in physiology that can occur. Increases in VO2 max, heat tolerance and overall performance across many endurance disciplines – including running – have been observed. If you train smart, adjust your expectations from session to session and your training programme effectively sets you up to peak at an event, you’ll be knocking off PBs with relative ease.