It's that time of year again. The heat, humidity and oppressive weather have become an unrelenting challenge to your training and racing goals. Regardless of where you live, training in the summer is grueling. But these four essential strategies will help get you through the summer, primed for a personal best during the fall racing season.
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Adjust Your Expectations and Training Paces
You will train and race slower in hot weather. This is a physiological fact that can't be overcome by mental toughness.
Therefore, you need to be realistic about your training paces when running in the heat. You will be slower, feel awful despite running slower, and your recovery will be hampered. This is impossible to avoid and has nothing to do with a lack of fitness. It's simply a physiological reality. As such, you need to adjust your training paces and expectations.
My advice is to use a temperature calculator, like this one derived from the work of Dr. Jack Daniels, which can help estimate how much your times will be impacted by hot weather. Simply knowing how much you slow down, or being able to look back at what your effort really was during a workout can help keep you motivated and training strong throughout the summer.
Water is Better on You Than in You
For years we've been fed marketing buzz and hype from sports drinks companies about the importance of hydration. However, recent research, mainly by Dr. Timothy Noakes, has found that runners are more likely to be overhydrated than dehydrated. More importantly, compared to dehydration, overhydration is a more serious condition, and may have life-threatening complications.
Specifically, studies have disproved the claim that a two-percent reduction in body weight results in impaired performance. A recent study confirmed that Haile Gebrselassie lost 10 percent of his body mass due to dehydration during his world-record marathon run in Berlin. Numerous other studies have shown that there were no negative effects when runners only drank when thirsty.