November 23

The Heat Is On


Hot Out Here: Dave Scott and Mark Allen battle in Hawaii Ironman 1989.
Hot Out Here: Dave Scott and Mark Allen battle in Hawaii Ironman 1989.

Now that summer is around the corner the temperature is hot, hot, hot. If you’re training this means you’ll really be heating up and sweating up while you chase your health and fitness goals. Remember, during this time to allow for the pressure of training plus the extra impact of extra heat and humidity. This can wreak havoc on the unprepared, ill-equipped athlete. There’s some important things to keep in mind when training in the heat.

1) Go early or late.

In summer, it’s not ok to get out of bed still ‘half cut’ at 9:30am, watch 30 minutes of Saturday Disney then think about finding your sand shoes. In Australia, it gets so hot in the mornings you have to get up and get it done early. Or, wait until the late afternoon when the sun is less intense. However, I find that by this stage the same characters aforementioned will be around six jars deep by 4pm, so that rules that out. Solution, stay of the gas and go early. Free up your conscience to charge that night.

2) Drink water.

It’s really surprising how fast your body can lose hydration on a hot day, especially when exercising. You can sweat a litre in 10mins of running. Replace this fluid. Severe dehydration can be soul destroying like my horse riding adventure in Cuba, six hours in the Cuban sun with nothing but a mojito and a cigar. Ahh you live and learn.

3) Ease into it.

This is like any exercise but more important in the heat. If you go too hard early, not only will you have a rubbish session there’s a chance of further trauma exacerbated by the heat. Use a historical perspective, what are summer sports? Cricket, baseball. Perfect. If those guys went any slower they’d be ‘brown bread’ (dead). Take this example and go at a pace that you can maintain without blowing your fufu valve. Please don’t wear jodhpurs though.

4) If it’s too hot.

Don’t go. There’s literature around that states, training at temperatures above body temp (37) is counter productive. I agree with this. Moreover, I take a common sense approach. If it’s in the high 30’s and you’re suss on the conditions you’re best off not going or doing some other type of training. Is there any use in belting yourself on a really hot day then being sidelined with heatstroke for the next three days? No, there’s not. Take it light on the hot day and train well the rest of the week.

5) Tina Turner (we don’t need another hero).

Generally when the weather is hot, hot, hot, the crowds are out and about soaking up the good weather. Don’t be the clown running though crowds in the middle of the day like a real legend. You should have done the work already, been home hit the showers, hydrated and eaten. Then you can enjoy the outdoors and spray late morning joggers. Like I do.


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