Training for the Bellin Run in Hot Weather

May 27, 2010

You don’t have to let the recent stifling hot temperatures (or future sweaty days) melt your training plans for the upcoming Bellin Run. There are a number of ways you can stay on track with your training regimen.

Nate Vandervest, a strength and conditioning specialist at Bellin Health, offers five tips for hot weather training for your next road race:

Replenish your fluids – frequently: Drink before you head out on a training run. Drink while on the training run. Drink after your training run. Keeping hydrated is critical when training in hot weather. Water is great for replenishing your fluids and staying hydrated, but don’t forget to chug down some of your favorite sports drink for the carbohydrates and sodium, which aid in your body’s recovery and in restoring lost electrolytes. And remember, being thirsty isn’t the best indicator of hydration levels. If you’re out running and you feel pretty thirsty, your body’s probably already dehydrated. Be careful.

Run early in the morning or late in the evening: Running early in the morning typically means you’ll experience the coolest temperatures of the first half of the day but also more humidity. Running later in the evening usually means the temperature is a little cooler but the humidity tends to be less. Overall you should avoid running from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on hot days.

Slow down: If you aren’t used to the heat you need to give your body a chance to acclimate to it.  Slow your pace down. If it’s really hot out, consider training indoors –activities like cross-training, core work or flexibility training.

Ditch the cotton T-shirt: Wicking material is the in-thing now. Most running attire is made of some form of moisture-wicking fabric. These fabrics keep sweat away from your skin and help keep you cool. Cotton retains the moisture, gets heavy, and isn’t going to cool you down as well as these new wicking materials can.

Protect your eyes and skin: Wear sunscreen and sunglasses, they’ll help protect your skin and your eyes, respectively. Also, try wearing light-colored clothing or get a tech shirt that has UV protection already in it. That will help reflect some of the sunlight on a bright, hot day.

Listen to your body: The heat can be dangerous so listen to your body. If you start to experience the signs of a heat-related illness – dizziness, clammy skin, nausea, sudden headache, confusion, etc. – stop and immediately get out of the sun or into the shade, take a cool (not cold) bath or call your doctor for further advice.

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