It's hot in BC right now - really hot. I love the heat, and since exercise in the heat can be dangerous when it gets really hot out I thought it prudent to share some recommendations with you.
There are many summer events happening and I know many of you are tackling things like the Ironman, Penticton Gran Fondo, various half marathons and other triathlons. How do you prepare for the heat? Well the number one thing you need to do is educate yourself. Here is my list of the most important things to consider:
1. Acclimate: you can't just step out into unusually hot weather and expect to perform or be able to exercise at your normal level. It takes 5-10 days to properly acclimate to the heat. If you are expecting a hot race day you need to prepare for it by ensuring you build your tolerance. In order to acclimate to the heat you need to raise your core temperature to 101 degrees F and exercise for at least 60 minutes. This needs to be done regularly and with increasing intensity for at least 5-10 days for best results.
- Hydration is the number one thing you need to think about when exercising in the heat
- Drink lots of fluid in the heat; 20 oz or so 2 hours before, 8 oz right before, and a couple good gulps every 15-20 minutes you are exercising.
- weigh yourself before and after training in the heat; 1 lb of body weight loss equals roughly 2.5 cups of water loss. If you are loosing weight during training you need to drink more.
- Add electrolytes to your water
3. Know your abilities: Exercise in the heat provides extra stress. Slow down, and ease into it. Don't expect a personal best especially if you haven't acclimated properly.
4. Clothing: light and breathable, well ventilated hat with a brim, sunglasses, sunscreen.
5. If you aren't worrying about acclimation for an event, exercise in the morning or late evening to avoid the mid day furnace.
6. Be smart: know the signs of heat stress, and make sure you stay hydrated. Hot and humid is more dangerous than hot and dry. Have fun out there, but be safe and look out for yourself and your training/race partners.