How to train in the heat

The UK has been blessed with some pretty incredible weather of late (having said  that, typically as I write this it’s chucking it down!) but regardless of this interlude, the weather’s been great. With that, more of us are getting outside to exercise, particularly with the ease in lockdown restrictions. So we thought it a prudent moment to share tips and coping mechanisms for training in the heat.

Choose your timing
If you are able to select the time at which you train, either go for early in the morning or late in the evening.  Training in the mid-day heat can be really hard and will impact your ability to perform and get the best from that session (plus, it’s likely to leave you like a zombie for the rest of the day).

Dress appropriately
It’s a given that when you  exercise you will sweat, especially if temperatures outside are high. Sweating is our bodies cooling mechanism so training in the correct clothing will allow the process to be a lot more efficient. Avoid clothing made from cotton as this will trap the sweat and heat against the body. Instead, opt for synthetics such as nylon – they are breathable, light-weight and sweat-wicking.

Hydration
For the body to function properly hydration is a very important. If you are exercising for a long period of time you should aim to consume around 500ml of fluids every hour (depending on your size, sweat rate and temperature). It’s important to be hydrated prior to the day of training too. So, if you know you have a big training day coming up, start hydrating 24-36 hours prior. Trying to hydrate on the day isn’t enough if you’re waking up in an already slightly dehydrated state. Post-session, make sure you consume to help replace not just energy and water but also electrolytes lost through sweating.

Listen to your body
Typically the fitter you are, the better your body can tolerate the heat (especially if you often train in higher temperatures or live outside the UK ;). However, if you are new to training and perhaps haven’t experienced training in the heat before, this can have a real affect on your performance and ability.

You may find that your training is well below your ‘normal’ levels completed in cooler climes. Don’t worry, this is totally normal and it’s just a case of building slowly and listening to your body. With your first few sessions in the heat, start off slowly and see how you feel and build with each session. It’s said to take around 10-14 days to acclimatise to heat. The human body adapts with each time you will train in it so it’s important to go on feel and monitor as you go.