Adapting To Hot and Humid Conditions
The hotter and more humid conditions are right around the corner and it can be the most challenging situation when it comes to how weather impacts our training and racing. Training during the summer can be extra tricky when trying to train for a fall race. It’s important that we approach the summer with realistic expectations with our training. Let's take a look at a couple common mistakes and how to avoid them!
Ignoring the fact that we have to adjust our workouts and paces because of the heat and humidity.
It really is true that you will train and race slower in hotter conditions. There’s no escaping it. It’s critical that we keep this in mind when planning and evaluating our results. Let’s break it down more. Our body temperature is normally at 98.6 degrees F. When running, even in cooler temperatures, our internal temperature increases. Initially, this increase aids our performance by increasing blood flow to our muscles, but once our internal temperature is over 102 degrees we start to see a decrease in performance. At this point, the body can no longer cool itself off and the body begins to send our blood to the skin to help keep it cooler. This decreases the amount of blood available for our muscles. This results in us not being able to run as fast. This is also why we shouldn’t run when we have a fever. Considering all of this, you need to be realistic about your training and race performances. It may be impossible to avoid the heat and humidity but just know it’s not because of a lack of fitness, it’s a physiological obstacle.
Not getting the proper recovery.
Getting the right amount of recovery during the summer is a big challenge and can often lead to overtraining and poor race results. This decrease in recovery usually comes from a lack of sleep, doing more stuff outside of running, and from fatigue build-up as the body redirects resources from recovery to keeping itself cool. But let’s get more into this area. How is our sleep affected? To get started most runners are having to wake up earlier than usual to beat the heat which results in less sleep overall. Beating the heat in the morning is a good idea but that means you should be going to bed earlier. Or you could even add some daily naps if it fits into your schedule. Another thing that can affect our recovery during the summer is that most people like to travel and plan fun stuff to do. Being active all day, especially when in the sun, will impact our run for the next day. I’m not telling you to not have fun but make sure you factor this into your expectations. Unless you happen to spend your entire day in the AC, your body is going to use resources it would normally use for recovery on keeping itself cool. With recovery, all it takes is one small interruption to back up the recovery process. This can be crucial for runners trying to reach a race goal.
Please keep all of this in mind during the summer. Even things like our miles per week can be affected. Here’s some advice: it would be a good idea to add an extra recovery day during the week if you’re feeling worn down. You could even throw in a down week to stay ahead of things. This will allow you to catch up on needed sleep and do some of those fun things you had planned. So, when training during the summer, keep these factors in mind to avoid frustration and potential overtraining.