By Kristie Cranford
Summer is fast approaching, the days getting longer, and temperatures will begin to rise. Training in the heat is inevitable and in some cases practically unavoidable (I live in Las Vegas where heat is “normal”). If you are faced with training in the heat there are a few things to consider in keeping yourself cool and safe while training.
What to Wear
The sun is at its highest between 10am and 4pm. It is best to avoid these times. Always wear sunscreen, and reapply. Dark colors absorb the heat; wear white or light UV protective clothing (the Coolibar Cool Fitness Shirt is a perfect example) to reflect the sun’s rays. Wear a hat and UV protective sunglasses.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Know your sweat loss rate. Weigh yourself before and after a workout to know how much sweat you lose and replenish with this amount. Cramping is a sign of mineral loss, so make sure you are taking in an electrolyte sports drink to keep you hydrated and replenish minerals lost in sweat.
Tips & Tricks
Help keep the body cool by pouring cold water over pulse points in the wrist and back of the neck. Also pour over the top of the head – a majority of the body’s heat is released through the top of the head. That being said, be sure to wear a ventilated hat so heat can escape and is not trapped. There are cooling neckbands that you submerge in water to provide long-term cooling. In extreme heat situations, I have frozen my wristbands and then continued to pour water over them as I trained. Their absorbent nature keeps the cool water on my pulse points. I have participated in extreme heat races and the race organizers have provided cooling stations and ice towels.
Watch for Heat Stress
Be aware of warning signs of heat stress and have an emergency plan in place (carry a phone; wear an ID bracelet with emergency contact information).
Warning signs of heat stress and heat related illnesses (dehydration, hypernatremia, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps) include but are not limited to: muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion, cold and/or clammy skin, fainting, fast or weak pulse, hot red dry or moist skin, and even unconsciousness.
Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with playing it 100% safe and taking your training indoors. You won’t skip a beat in your training and you can train safely without worrying about sun damage and heat related stress and illnesses.
Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun!
Kristie Cranford, CPT, ITCA, is a marathoner and triathlete, wife, mother, friend and multiple cancer survivor, but people call her “Coach.” A Certified Personal Trainer, Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist and running and triathlon coach, Kristie instructs family, friends and clients through fitness, relationships, life crises, parenting and everything else. She can be reached through her blog at coachkristie.com or her email at CoachKristieLV@yahoo.com.