The heat index is over 100 today in my neck of the woods, so it is the time to start talking about safely training in the heat. Many people, understandably, will resort to treadmill, indoor track, or indoor crosstraining like swimming or rowing… But those stubborn folks who continue to run and ride outside need to take special precautions. Running early in the morning or late at night might help a little, but it is still pretty miserable (and dangerous) then.
There are lots of graphics that talk about how much to slow the pace based on temperature and heat index, so I won’t even go into that. Instead, I will talk about a few ways that I try to train as safely as possible. Since I have autoimmune, I really have to be careful and listen to my body. My heating and cooling systems are just not as efficient. Also, if I am in the sun for any length of time, I get horrible itchy sun blisters. (Lupus is just the gift that keeps on giving).
First, we all know hydration is key. For track workouts, we fill a giant insulated jug with ice and water, and try to keep it in a shady spot. (Bowie has evening track practices twice a week – so I am sure to make sure he always has water available). For runs and rides, I fill up all my insulated bottles as well as my hydration vest. (Shameless pitch for Orange Mud here because they are just the best!)
If you will have an extended workout, you might consider something a bit more than just plain water. I like to use Nuun Hydration tabs. One bottle of Nuun, another bottle of cold water, and I am good to go. (They even make a new “performance” product that can be used for nutrition /fuel.)
Next, apply sunscreen before you even go outside, and be vigilant about re-applying once you are on the go. Make sure you apply under the edges of your clothes. (I recently reminded myself of this after I got a super-bad burn from where my shorts slid up while sitting in a lawn chair. I had a 4” bright red band around my thighs were supposed to be.) Be sure to hit the backs of your ears and back of your neck! There are a billion sunscreens out there, and everyone has a favorite… but as someone with lupus, I need one with Zinc.
For clothes, I like light, breezy layers. I like to feel like my skin is breathing and the sweat is being wicked away from me. Wrestling my way out of a tight, sweaty top isn’t much fun. Right now, I am liking Rabbit Race-her Back and Bunny Hop tops with Hopper and Catch Me If You Can shorts.
(I just joined their running team, but I am not selling anything! I swear!) And like, all the Body Glide I can possibly apply on my thighs and armpits to fend off sweaty-chafing issues.
I do like to wear a visor to keep my hair out of my face and sun out of my eyes. (I find a hat holds in the heat too much). I really like my Orange Mud visor. I just received a BOCO visor, so I will give some feedback on that once I have a chance to test it out.
I am sort of hit and miss on wearing sunglasses. My prescription sunglasses broke, but I do have several pairs of regular sunglasses. Sometimes I have issues with glasses pinching behind my ears, so I end up stuffing them down the front of my sports bra. (Which makes for really gross glasses when I am back in my car!) I actually just received a pair of polarized sunglasses from XX2i. I will be taking them for a test “run” this weekend , but so far, for everyday use, I really like them (now that I am getting used the the “polarized” lenses). Review on that coming once I have really had a chance to train in them.
Finally… a sort of girly topic. Hair. I have long hair, so I am always trying to keep my hair off my neck and out of my face. Putting hair in a ponytail all the time can cause breakage. (If you only put it up for training, you might be OK). I have been working on managing my hair without the ponytail pulling. Lately I have been twisting my hair up into a bun and securing it in place with a couple bobby pins. (And it actually stays put!) If I am feeling fancy, I even braid a little section before pulling it up. If I am feeling frisky, two little baby buns are kind of fun. I have done braids a few times, and that is actually easier to fit a visor or hat over. Just throwing that out there since my hair becomes a nasty curly rats nest if I don’t keep it under control in humid weather!
Notice: I am an ambassador for Nuun, Rabbit, and Orange Mud but I was not provided any free products or paid for my opinion. All opinions are my own!