Can we talk for a minute about how dad gum hot it’s been lately?! Do I really live in the mountains of North Carolina? Judging by the reading on the thermometer lately, I might think otherwise. It has been so. so. so. HOT! I mean, like 90 degrees hot, which is pretty brutal for us this time of year.
I know, I know, all you “real” Southerners might think I’m a wuss, but whatever. 90 degrees is hot. The end.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the summer time. It’s definitely my favorite season, and I would much rather walk outside and sweat my arse off than shiver my hinny into oblivion (such was the case this past winter). But, when it’s this hot out, it gets really hard to keep up my regular routine of running, biking, etc. For instance, yesterday I set out on a run that was supposed to last for about 45 minutes and I ended up cutting it short at 30 because I thought my head might explode.
Summer came early this year (thank goodness). We were hitting 80s in late April. This is very unusual for us, but very welcome after such a long winter.
I’m learning some lessons about working out in the heat this summer. I’m not one to work out inside. I just don’t like it. I work inside all day in an office and when it’s time to shake my groove thing, I prefer to be outside in the fresh (albeit hot) air.
I decided it might be helpful to my faithful readers (all 10 of you 🙂 if I listed some things that have worked for me when I’m working out in the heat.
(ps. I am not a health professional by any means, these are just some things that have worked for me).
1. Hydrate (thank you Captain Obvious). I carry water with me regardless of how long I’ll be out. Continually drinking fluids keeps my heat headache away and generally cools me down so I can keep going.
2. Take it easy. I tend to slow my workouts down overall when it’s warmer outside. I’m not ashamed to say if I’m running and I feel like I need break, I’ll walk for a minute. Maybe even two minutes! Taking a break helps me go a little longer than if I’m just pushing myself to the max. I’d max out pretty fast. Cut your workout short if you feel like you’re getting overheated. It’s not worth it to suffer from heat exhaustion to get in those last 15 minutes of your run. Seriously.
3. Try circuits. This idea kind of goes off the previous one. Sometimes I’ll run for 10 mins, do a round of sit ups, push ups and squats and then run for a few more minutes. Repeat sit ups, etc. This gives me a chance to take a “break,” but I’m still working. Plus, I get in a pretty good full body work out.
4. Salt. When you sweat, you’re losing salt (in other words, you’re losing electrolytes). If I’m running or biking for more than 30 minutes I’ll usually take at least one or two CLIF shotblocks (along with fluid), to replace any salt (electrolytes) I’m losing. This helps keep me from crashing early. You can also use Gatorade for this. I like to mix my bottle with half water and half Gatorade. Gatorade alone is a little too sweet for me.
5. Stick to shaded areas. I’m pretty fortunate to live in a wooded area with trails to run on, which are pretty much completely shaded. I also work near a wooded section, so if I run after work, I’ll stick to the woods. If you don’t live in or near a shaded area, I highly recommend you find one. It makes a huge temperature difference (sometimes as much as ten degrees) and thus, you can run, walk or bike a little bit longer and/or harder than if you are in direct sunlight.
6. Cool down. I tend to have a really bad habit of just finishing a work out and walking right in the back door. I don’t really take the time to cool down first. If you’re running, walk for about 5-10 minutes and let your heart rate come down some. If you’re biking, slow down your pace likewise. This is probably common sense, but I have to remind myself how much better I feel if I cool down after a hot, hard workout. This includes stretching also!
So there you have it – my two cents on how to manage hot workouts. Like I mentioned, I think most of this is common sense, but as I have to often remind myself of these things I thought it would be helpful to share with ya’ll as well.