Summer is officially here and over the next four months so will be record setting temperatures. Don’t let the heat of the summer decrease your performance or deter you from your training regimen. These practical strategies apply to athletes in summer practice, the avid runner, and weekend warriors alike.
- Take It Seriously: Suffering from a heat-related illness is possible for anyone. When the body’s ability to cool itself down becomes inhibited, the potential for dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke, or even death can occur.
- Recognize the Symptoms: Heat exhaustion symptoms include but are not limited to: excessive sweating, paleness, dizziness, headaches, nausea and fainting. Heat stroke symptoms include, but are not limited to: extremely high body temperature (103°), hot/dry skin (no sweating), rapid pulse, confusion, and/ or unconsciousness. Visit www.cdc.gov > extreme heat, for more information regarding symptoms and what to do if you or someone else begins to suffer from a heat-related illness.
- Acclimate: If you are training outdoors or somewhere with no air-conditioning, arrive to your training destination about 30 minutes prior to let your body adjust to the heat. Sitting inside at work in an air-conditioned building, then getting outside and going at a high pace is a shock to the system. Ease into your warm-ups and let the body recognize the need to turn on its cooling mechanisms.
- Hydrate: I recommend drinking a minimum of 50% of your bodyweight in ounces of water a day for general health and hydration. This number goes up to a minimum of 75-100% for vigorous training days while in the heat. After training, I recommend using a low sugar sports drink or coconut water to help replenish electrolytes lost through sweating.
- Plan Ahead: If the forecast has temperatures with extreme heat and high humidity levels, adjust accordingly and try to train either early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Stop If You Need To: At some point, overall fatigue can and will kick in and you will need to rest. If you truly feel that you need to sit out of a drill, or just take 5 minutes to recharge the system, don’t hesitate to do so.
Scott Doane Strength and Performance coach and owner of BeSTRONG Training Systems; a private training facility designed for enhancing your fitness and performance. He has trained a variety of athletes of all ages and levels ranging from middle-school to professional. Find him online at BeStrongTrainingSystems.com