Training for Heat? In early spring…
Today, during my run here in Minnesota, I realized how enjoyable running in 25 degrees felt. Didn’t need extra layers or mittens to maintain body heat for a short 6 mile run. This then sparked my thoughts on training for events in warmer climates. Since most of us in the Midwest have endured many days below zero and even others around the country experiencing an unusually cold winter, many of us have a spring race that is in a warmer climate. Many athletes make plans for races in California, Texas, etc. where temps will be in the 70s-80s°. Even with cooler temps you can make the necessary physiological adaptions to heat when you can’t train in the climate you are racing in.
The easiest way to prepare and make the physiological adaptations is with natural acclimatization, which can usually be done in about 10 days. Here are some simple strategies to prepare for warm climate race.
Time of Day:
As like many others, my weekly workouts take place in the early morning or later in the evenings, usually when the temps are at there coolest. A strategy while using the current high temperature of your climate is to plan your workouts during the high temp for the day. This may mean moving your work out to over your lunch break, which could be a 20-30 degrees difference for you.
Sometime being indoors is the best way to regulate the temperature in which you are training. For some (me) this is a hard concept to accept after a winter full of treadmill sessions and indoor trainer rides but most gyms and basements are around normally around 65 degrees. This gives you a consistent regulated training climate.
Layer the clothing:
With spring slowly approaching you may not see temperatures much above 50 degrees or not getting the effect of Texas heat on the trainer in the basement so now what? Time to add the clothing layers. The key is gradually layered clothing to fit the climate you are going to race in. The clothing you want to use is cotton such as: long sleeve t-shirts, sweat shirts, sweat pants, stocking cap, etc. This aids in keeping body heat from escaping. Tech clothing is designed to allow body heat to escape so using cotton is more beneficial for this application.
These strategies can be used independent or interdependently to meet the climate you are training for. MONITOR YOUR FLUID INTAKE AND DEHYDRATION. Ensure you are maintaining proper hydration levels while checking your hydration status.
Over the course of the 10-14 days using natural acclimatization you will see a decrease in heart rate, plasma volume expansion (blood vessels expand). You will have a decrease in concentration of electrolytes in your sweat (e.g. sodium, potassium). Your sweat rate will also increase, that is right you will sweat more but your sweat will be more diluted.
Training hard today makes tomorrow easier.