Since all3sports is located in the heart of the south, we know a thing or two about training in the heat and are taking the time to share some of our best insights today.
Stay on top of your hydration.
You can’t think of hydration as something you do during training and racing. It has to be a daily focus for athletes. Staying hydrated will aid your recovery and increase your energy levels throughout the day.
According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and medicine, an adequate daily fuel intake for the average person is
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
You aren't the average person. You are an athlete. You’re going to finish each workout slightly dehydrated even if you have a solid strategy for staying hydrated during your workout. You need to have a good plan to keep hydrated throughout the day whether it's setting a reminder to drink on your phone or using some sort of tracking app.
You’ll also want to look at making sure you get proper electrolytes as a part of your daily hydration strategy. (see this article on electrolytes for more information). You can do this through your food, adding a pinch of salt to your water or by using a product like NUUN. We like NUUN because we know we’re getting a balanced product without the extra sugar and it makes your plain water taste great!
Make Hydration Easy
For training and racing, make sure you have the proper hydration set up on your bike. This includes being able to carry enough water to support you no matter how long you are out on a training ride or at a race. Always be self-sufficient is a good rule of thumb. That gas station that you always stop at might be closed for some reason or you may lose a water bottle on the course long before you arrive at an aid station. Nothing will ruin your training or race day like poor hydration.
Make sure that you have a system that you are comfortable with and practice using it during training rides. If you aren’t comfortable reaching down to grab a bottle, then set up a front hydration system that you can easily refill. If you prefer rear hydration cages, practice reaching behind you to grab the bottles while training. If you aren’t comfortable doing something in training then it’s unlikely that you’ll do it on race day. We love the front hydration set systems. They make it easy to grab sips of water while in the aero position. Pictured below is a customer favorite, the Profile Designs Bike Hydration System
Protect your skin
More and more we find people coming into the store looking for options that offer more coverage to protect their skin from the intense rays of summer.
For training we recommend choosing a bike jersey which will give good coverage to your shoulders and for those especially concerned about sun exposure, adding sun sleeves. They look similar to arm warmers but are lightweight to actually help keep you cool while blocking the harmful UVB rays. Note the Pearl Izumi Sun Sleeve.
Don’t forget your eyewear. Make sure that your sunglasses offer protection from harmful UVB/UVA rays.
For the run, a hat or visor will help keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes.
Be strategic as you train
Although indoor training has become increasingly popular, most athletes still want to get in plenty of outdoor training time. If you’re going to race in hot conditions, it’s beneficial to train in those as well.
Keep in mind that everyone responds differently to the heat. On extremely hot days you’ll need to adjust your workout plan. If you have a long day, start early to get some of the cooler morning temps.
Keep an eye on how your heart rate responds to the heat and slow down your training as needed. A heart rate monitor is the best way to monitor this. If you can't keep your heart rate in the right range at your normal pace or power level, you may need to slow down in the heat. If you don't use a wrist-based HR monitor, adding one like the Wahoo TICKR will allow you to track your HR through your watch or even an app.
It's important to note that doing every workout in the heat is also not beneficial to an athlete. If you are trying to hit certain power or pace intervals and the heat makes it impossible, those are good training sessions to move indoors. Don't be afraid of the treadmill or the trainer in the summer months. They can help you train at high intensities while you use your outdoor time for endurance and a bit of heat training.
Have a good recovery plan in place post training.
You may notice that you need more downtime or naps in the summer. This is fairly normal when you train in the heat and humidity. Get out of the sun and into cool air as soon as possible after your workout. As great as a cold coke or beer may sound, your best bet is to drink water or an electrolyte-infused drink.
Do you have other tips to manage the hit? We'd love to hear them. Post them in the comments section.