It's that time of year again. You know, the one where it feels like you are stepping out into pea soup every time you leave your house? This is the time of year where I start to get panic e-mails or training peaks comments from you all telling me that you feel like you have the flu, that workout felt like death, you can't hit paces that you were easily hitting a month ago, etc, etc, etc. All normal reactions as our bodies adjust to the heat and humidity. Here are a couple of great articles that explain what takes place in our bodies during this weather and how and why performance can be affected:
Here are some other key points to keep in mind during this time of year:
1) It takes about two weeks of consistent heat exposure for the body to adapt. Expect to see increases in heartrates, drop in paces, increased fatigue and longer recovery periods as the adjustment takes place. Put away the U-Suck-O-Meter during this period of time.
2) Electrolytes are just as important as hydration. Water alone will not be sufficient in this kind of weather. If you are not training with an electrolyte sports drink, supplement with a product such as Endurolytes, FRS, or Metasalt.
3) Plan your hydration stops. Don't let yourself "run dry" on a long workout. If you are doing a long run, do loops where you can stash water in a cooler at the end of each one. If you are going on a long ride, make sure that there are stores or gas stations on your route so that you can replenish. Don't underestimate the effect that swimming in a hot lake will take, either. Drink up right when you finish a long swim.
4) Try doing intense sessions early in the morning or late in the evening. That way you are more likely to hit targets. Save your easy and moderate sessions for the heat of the day.
5) If you do happen to get dehydrated or overheated, realize that it may take a few days to fully recover. You may feel extremely lethargic, sore and tired for a period of time afterwards. Drink, drink, drink and take extra electrolytes during this time period.
Train smart and email your coach if you have any questions.