It's that time of the year again, the warm summer days we craved for not long ago in the dead of winter. But summer--specially this year--packs a lotta heat, making athletes lives difficult, if not outright miserable. Here's a few tips that might help you keep your cool while staying on fire during training.
Hydration, hydration, hydration!
Sounds so obvious and simple, it's silly! But many of us (myself included) still fail to drink enough fluids in a day, even in this punishing weather. The general rule is to drink 1 gallon a day, but try to also monitor the color of your urine (the clearer, the better) . Water is good, but adding electrolytes is better. Avoid drinking alcohol in hot weather, but if you absolutely must, grab a cold one, instead of tequila shots and Jack Daniels.
2. Start early (or start later!)
Even if you plan to workout indoors, starting early in the day will help you avoid hot temperatures. Your working heart rate tends to stay lower in the early morning, which will keep you from overheating. But if an early morning workout is simply impossible, try waiting til the sun goes down to tackle your training. Be careful when you're running or riding outside at sunset though, as a driver's vision is still adjusting to the dwindling light.
3. Sunblock, sunglasses and long sleeves (yes, sleeves!)
Sunblock is a must-have in the summer, specially if you're an outdoor athlete. But even if you're not, you'll still need some protection walking from car to the gym door. So keep a bottle handy at all times. Your eyes need protection too, so put on a pair of your favorite eyewear whenever you're out and about. Light colored and loose fitting long-sleeved shirts are very popular among ultra marathoners as they provide 100% protection against harmful UV rays, and the sweat it captures does an excellent job cooling the skin's surface
4. Don't be a Hero!
Listen to your body. Hot days are not ideal for PR's, strength tests and max efforts. Your body behaves, reacts and recovers differently in higher temperatures, and that's why you have to prepare and perform differently as well. As long as you hydrate properly, wear the necessary protection and know your limits, you can safely and effectively train in any weather.