Along with everything else that’s been a bit different about this year, the weather has been a hotter than we’re used to, and looking ahead to the rest of the week, it looks like we’re going to get more than our usual share of tropical thunderstorms.
So here’s a few quick points on how to approach it in terms of training:
Adapting training for the heat
When it’s hot your body’s main job is to stop you overheating (which at it’s extreme can result in death) rather than to do your session at goal pace/power. There’s less blood to go around (it’s being diverted to the skin to cool you and as you get dehydrated blood plasma volume is reduced) which makes exercise harder.
Therefore back off the pace and go on feel, if your easy run feels hard then slow down til it feels easy. If you’ve got a hard session on your plan either switch it to a cooler day/ earlier on, do what you can do to cool down (fans, cold drinks ice vests etc) or do it at a lower intensity. If you need to drop the intensity too much then I would ditch the session - you’re not going to get the training benefits you deserve from it, and do a heat adaptation session instead.
Heat adaptation – if you have a race /lots of training coming up in the (predicted) heat then consider a heat adaptation protocol – if it turns out not to be hot on race day you’ll still get some great benefits. I’ve covered this in a lot more detail in my heat adaptation webinar
but in summary you need 2-3 weeks to adapt, you need to try and elevate core body temperature (within safe ranges) for 60-100 mins every day/ every other day, usually by adding a sauna routine post training, and when training in the heat you should massively reduce intensity.
Dehydration is a key risk – both in terms of performance and health, make sure you keep hydrating (including electrolytes), and don’t just focus on during the workout, think before, during and after. And aim for little and often, not just a few big glugs.
Nutrition – your body will process nutrition differently when you’re hot, and obviously you’ll be taking on more liquids. If you’re training for a race then experiment with what works and doesn’t in the heat, and make notes.
And the thunder and rain
- Outdoor swim venues will have protocols that mean they need to stay shut for a certain time period from the last clap of thunder/ wont open if thunder is forecast so think about re-gigging your week now.
Are you racing this year? If not then personally I’d keep my training indoors during storms.
If you are then, obviously first thing is safety. Don’t go out if it’s not safe!
But if you’re confident it’s ok to be outside then this might be valuable practice for a potentially wet race day. This year is unusual in the number of the later season events and for many they face potentially training through a boiling summer and then racing on a wet day. This is infinitely preferable in my opinion to the other way round, but does mean your wet weather skills will be rusty.
In terms of the bike – wait until after the first rain, dusty dry roads + rain = roads like an ice rink. Once that’s washed off then this could be a great option to get some wet weather training in. Remember stay off the road markings (slippery when wet) and avoid puddles (you’re not being a wuss, you don’t know if there’s a pothole under there). Check through kit options, especially glasses.
Run – less important but good to think through kit choices (although it may be cooler on race day), find which socks rub the least when wet, try out trail shoes if your race is off road etc.
Swim – again, don’t risk it with lightening, but if it’s just windy then again this is great practice for those conditions on race day, especially if you’ve got a sea swim coming up that you haven’t practiced much for.
Kit - Take a spare layer, you can get a lot colder when wet, a pair of latex gloves in your back pocket is a really light weight option for keeping hands warmer and dry. And don’t forget your face mask in case you need to abort or change plans.