We’ve all been out the past few weekends and felt the increasing Georgia heat! We are still in the enjoyment of spring for now, but all too soon we will be getting back to the oppressive heat and humidity so infamous in the South. Now is the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with some good practices and precautions regarding training in the increased heat and humidity.
Adjusting Training Expectations
Heat and humidity increase the strain on the physiology of your body and takes a few weeks to get used to. This means you should temper your expectations on hitting desired splits, distances, and heart rate zones. In my experience, you should expect a decreased capacity of anywhere between 10-25%. Give yourself grace when it comes to hitting performance marks since your body will have to adjust to the new strain.
Arguably the most important part of training in the increased heat and humidity is the increased hydration required. Your individual hydration needs may vary, so there are a few strategies you can employ to make sure you are staying fueled.
- Your baseline water intake for the day should be half your bodyweight, in fluid ounces. So, for a 150lb athlete, they should be consuming 75 fluid ounces of water per day minimum. This amount can vary and will increase if you exercise.
- By far the best way to calculate your water needs following exercise is to weigh yourself prior to and immediately following exercise. Each pound of weight loss equates to roughly 16 ounces of water. So, if you lose 2 lbs during exercise, expect to add 32 ounces to your baseline water requirement.
- For simplicity’s sake, you can also skip the scale and just estimate needing 16 – 32oz of water per hour of exercise.
When you sweat, you will lose salt from your system. Salt is important to have in your system because it helps you to retain water and maintain normal bodily functions. There are certainly commercial products available with their own recommendations for use during exercise, so you can take those recommendations as available. For our purposes, you can also utilize sports drinks with salt (electrolytes) present to help resupply as you exercise.
Skin cancer is quite prevalent with those exercising and working outside, so it is imperative to utilize sunscreen or sun-blocking clothing to protect your skin. Growing up in Florida, I understand the last thing you want to do before a run is to slather on the sunscreen, but I can tell you from personal and family experience that the scare and risk of skin cancer is worth the momentary inconvenience. I have written a blog on this topic you can find here.
When all our best efforts fail and the heat starts to overwhelm, you need to know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke for both yourself and your training partners. I’ve written another blog on this topic, here.
With all of these topics in mind, we can stay safe during our summer training. Make sure to give yourself grace and to establish new routines and patterns as you train in the heat!
Thanks for reading,