Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday - Beating the Heat

Today I'm linking back up with Courtney at The Tri Girl Chronicles, Phaedra at Blisters and Black Toenails and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What?!for Tri Talk Tuesday. This week's topic: Beating the heat.

Summer in Kentucky means a lot of awesome things for me. Longer days, bourbon trail touring, back porch sitting, pool swimming and zoo visiting. I love all of it. One pesky little addition to all of those, however, is the heat.
As of 7:25a.m.Yikes
And not just heat, but humidity. Oh the humidity. The kind of stuff where you're already soaked in sweat before you make it through your warm up. Several weeks ago the humidity was so thick at 6:00 a.m. (so pre-sun) that it was actually foggy. Seriously.;
So what's a triathlete to do in these wicked summer months? After 7 years of living, running, and training in the Bluegrass I've come up with a few tricks that can help you get a handle on the heat.

- Plan your workouts around the heat
Some of you may not like hearing this, but time for a dose of truth: the coolest part of the day is in the morning. Before the sun comes up. Yes, that early ass time you haven't seen since you were coming home in college. But for summer training in some climates early mornings are a must when it's 85 degrees and 70% humidity by 9 a.m.

Also, pay more attention to your route in the heat. Usually run through the neighborhood without much tree cover? Maybe switch to trails to find some shade. This worked for me yesterday actually and it was a really nice little run. It's also important on long rides and runs to make sure you  know where you can refuel. Plan a route that has plenty of water fountains or store stops and bring cash for that ice cold gatorade at the sketchy gas station in the middle of nowhere. Which leads me to..

- Hydration Hydration Hydration
Hydration is always important but it's key for hot weather.  Firstly, make sure that you're hydrating well in advance of a long outdoor effort. If you wake up the morning of a 50 mile ride and your pee looks like iced tea, you're starting off with a deficit and you may not have enough time to make that up. And if you're not looking at your pee, then you're not truly invested in getting the most out of your training. Seriously, check your pee. It's not gross. Well, not that gross.

As far as hydrating during activity, there's a lot of debate about how much and how often. The old adage was "early and often" but now there's a lot of information out there about hyponatremia that's changing some opinions. I've had a lot of luck with what I learned from Be Iron Fit about my sweat rate. Sweat rate is complicated but it essentially involves figuring out how much water weight you lose after a vigorous effort. It gives you a number that specifically tells you how much you should be taking in each hour during a workout or race. If you're training for a longer race (specifically in a hotter climate) I highly recommend doing it!

- Summertime Specific Gear 
I love putting away my gloves, scarves, and balaclava at the end of the winter and pulling out my summer training stuff. This includes my nathan handheld and a series of hats and visors. These are a must for me when the weather and sun heat up.

Favorite Landsharks Headsweats Visor
- Sunscreen
This falls in the category of "Do as I say, not as I do." I try to put sunscreen on before going outside but...yeah, I forget a lot. What I won't forget is how miserable I was after TriFest back in May when I just got roasted during my first Olympic. I was a crispy critter. It took me 3x as long to recover from that race because I was so sunburnt. It really made me sick. So apply sunscreen!

- Prepare to alter expectations 
When conditions are hot and humid just accept you may not get the workout you planned for. And that's ok. According to Runnersworld.com, the Dew point (an indicator of humidity) can actually have the biggest impact on your effort. From July through August here our dew points are typically in the 60's. That means that most workouts are going to be 'uncomfortable'. This is one reason why I like Heart Rate training in the heat. Then you're running based on YOUR capacity and not some pace you set when temps were reasonable. For more awesome advice and info on hot weather running, check out the RunnersWorld Article here.

- Embrace the heat
While there are many ways to cope with the heat, there's no way to avoid it all together. So what's the remedy? In the words of SwimBikeMom, "Suck it up Buttercup." Get out in the weather early in the season to start acclimatizing to the heat. The worst thing you can do, in my opinion, is do all of your summer workouts on the treadmill or trainer. Particularly if you have a summer race! You need to get used to training and working in the heat so you have a true idea of how it effects you. So embrace it, love it, and get used to it.

What did I miss? Any other good tips for beating the heat?
Do you like running/biking in the summer?  I do. I hate the winter. 

Happy Running!


  1. Lube all the potential chafing spots! I seem to chafe a ton more in the summer than in the winter.

    Great tips!

    1. I should buy stock in Body Glide & Hoo Ha Ride Glide. I feel like I go through a ton of it in the summer!

  2. Great reminder about sweat rate! So few people know that and seriously, anyone who works out in the heat needs to figure that out. It's super important!

  3. Ah yes, the dew point chart. At Eagleman this year, the dewpoint was apparently in the low 70's. It. was. disgusting. And I was completely unprepared. Love your point about checking out your pee, ha ha. it's SO true.

  4. Heat affects my performance in all three tri disciplines. Even swimming! I love early season tris when everyone else is whining about the cold water. I am planning my racing seasons to focus on an early and late season peak and reserving the summer for some mid-season recovery and base training. (and maybe short bike races where I don't have as much time to get severely dehydrated)

    1. That's so smart! I was so concerned about Muncie since Central Indiana In July is *hot* but we had freak weather and it was perfect. May and September seem to be perfect times for races here

  5. Great tips! I have forgotten the sunscreen a few times and ended up having a miserable burn, thank you for the reminder!! :-)

    1. As a red headed freckled person you'd think I would've learned by now....nope! It's miserable :P

  6. Yes! We are totally in sync with this post!!!