Chicago Fitness & Recovery Center

6 Ways to Workout WITH the Heat (not 'BEAT the Heat’)

Welp, we’re in the sludge of summer - when you head outside and are met with a wall of heat and humidity. What does that mean for your workout? It means all of us athletes need to learn to workout WITH the heat. So instead of avoiding it (or trying to “beat the heat” – spoiler alert: you can’t!), start to think about how your body can adapt to it instead. Here are a few tips to help you tackle your Summer Heat Monster:

1. Pick your gear.

Wear light colored, loose-fitting clothing that wicks sweat. Technical gear allows moisture to pass through and evaporate, keeping you cooler for longer. To protect your skin and eyes from the sun, wear a hat/visor, sunglasses and sunscreen. Bonus item would be a bandana or buff that you can fill with ice or dunk in cold water.

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EDGE Athlete Jenny rocks out her heat gear during her recent 50 Miler in Leadville, CO!

2. Workout by your effort level rather than your pace.

As you acclimate to the heat, throw in a few minutes of slower paces throughout your session to lower your heart rate and improve the flow of oxygen to your muscles. As you become better in the heat, shorten or skip the breaks. It takes at least 10 days to start to adapt to new conditions, so take gradual adaptation into account.

3. Up Your Hydration Game.

When you train in the heat and humidity, dehydration is an inevitable outcome. When our fluid levels dip, our body’s cooling methods – including the ability to sweat – break down and we become less able to regulate our core temperature. In the days and hours leading up to a run, mildly increase your fluid intake to start your workout with adequate hydration. During the run, carry fluids on you (hand-held, hip-held or hydration packs all work) and train your body to gradually consume more liquids to build resistance to dehydration (taking care to not overdrink!). Avoid electrolyte imbalances by using the right nutrition supplements, many which contain water, sugar and salt.

 

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Handheld bottle means you can take it with you!

 

4. Plan your route.

Create a shorter 30 minute looped course for longer training days. Leave a cooler filled with cold fluids, ice cubes, fuel and a dry towel at your start/finish area. Stop during each loop to refuel, grab some ice and keep your core temperature in check.

 

5. Time your workouts with your races.

We know that working out in the heat puts extra stressors on our bodies, so if you’re heading into a race, back off two days prior to the competition to find your freshest legs.

6.Take Recovery (extra) seriously.

When your workout is overly taxing because of harsh, hot conditions, your body is spending extra energy to cool, putting your regularly-scheduled muscle recovery on the back burner. Legs-up-the-wall after your workout is an easy fix, along with any contrast water and compression therapy to help speed up those processes.

 

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EDGE Athletes Beth, Katie and John chilling out post run in the ice bath.




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