OMY! Sports News

Training and racing in hot weather 🔥

Useful Nutrition
Summer is a hot territory. Even if the weather is keeping cool now, we’d rather be prepared for climate “surprises”. Such things can greatly influence your results.

According to research, the ideal temperature for running a marathon is 14-16 degrees Celsius. When the air temperature rises above it, the result deteriorates on average by 0,3-0,4% for every 1 degree of temperature increase.

The heat of 30C+ can cut your marathon result by 15-20 minutes. Add some high humidity - and the result goes down even more. A good example is the Hawaiian climate in October during the Ironman World Championship. 30C and 90% humidity are typical for this time. Any mistake here comes with a cost.

How does heat affect your health?

🔥 Heat worsens sleep and recovery. To get a good night's sleep, many use air conditioning to cool down their sleeping area in advance. The main thing is not to sleep with the air conditioner on, so as not to catch a cold.
🔥 In hot conditions, the pulse increases. This applies to your resting heart rate (due to light sleep) and all training heart rates. The average increase is 5-10 beats to the normal heart rate zones. Why is that? During the heat, the body spends energy on cooling, the heart is “forced” to pump more blood and works more intensely.
🔥 If you measure heart rate variability or HRV, in hot conditions it will almost always be below normal. This indicates a deterioration in the functional level, one of the reasons for which is heat.
🔥 During the heat, your muscles are likely to feel sluggish, especially from 12 to 17 pm. This is the peak of solar activity, during which it is best to stay out of direct solar radiation - under an umbrella, indoors or somewhere else. Shift your workout time to earlier in the morning.
🔥 During the heat, your diet changes greatly and the need for liquids increases. In hot conditions, the body loses on average about 1.5 liters of water per hour. The stomach can absorb no more than 840 ml of water per hour. Thus, in hot conditions, the body always needs more water. We are therefore constantly thirsty.
What risks brings the Heat?
You can't ignore the hot weather - it affects your health much more than cold weather. Common effects of the heat during intense physical activity include:

⚡️ Seizures - as a result of loss of fluids and salts over a long period of time. You will literally wince from muscle pain and it can feel impossible to move. Cramping is a sign of a more serious problem to come during the race. As, for example, heat stroke, which can follow an hour later. Try not to reach such a point - that is very serious!

⚡️ Diarrhea: everything you eat wants to come out and the competition turns into the rest rooms quest. This can happen for two reasons - there is not enough blood in the stomach to digest the food, and there is a lack of fluids in the body.

⚡️ Heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Under fluid loss and dehydration, the body cannot cool itself anymore so its temperature begins to rise. When approaching 40C, ‘body protection’ is triggered - you start to shiver, you feel nauseous, and it feels cold. Yes, just like a fever. You begin to lose strength rapidly - switch to walking and stop. Heatstroke poses a threat of losing consciousness. Do not, under any circumstances, bring yourself to such a state. If you feel a strong chill, look for a shade immediately, stop, drink - if it doesn’t help, get out of the race. This will save your health.
How to avoid negative effects and what to take into consideration?

  1. If you are taller than 180 cm and over 75 kg (for men), <165 cm and over 60 kg (for women), the heat will hit you especially hard. The higher the body surface area under the sun, the harder it is for the body. That is why professional athletes try to lose those extra pounds before the hot climate races.
  2. Acclimatization to heat takes up to 14 days. Try to be in hot climates in advance and gradually prepare your body for stress.
  3. If your race is more than 2 hours, use every opportunity to hide your body from direct sunlight (especially your head). Use the shade lines on the track, shade from competitors, wear dark glasses, a white cap with a large brim, and apply a cream with maximum sun protection factor.
  4. Cool your body at every opportunity - ice on the head (a cap will help), water on the neck, and water inside. Yet, be prepared that things will not go according to plan. Specifically, watch your heart rate - possible accelerations should alert you. Mind slowing down.
  5. Running in heat and humid conditions, the prime way to get through to the finish line is to drink a lot. Increase your fluid intake — water and isotonic drinks — 2-3 times more than you do normally. Do not wait for dehydration — that's the worst-case scenario.
  6. Nutrition also requires adjustment. The easier the food (sugars) is to digest, the better: Coca-Cola, Red Bull, “pre-tested” gels (which are not to be washed down), isotonic. Try to make do without solid foods like fruits, bars, etc.
  7. Salts will leave your body (along with sweat) as quickly as a waterfall. Store them up in your body in advance. Take ‘Rehydron’ daily during the week before the start, take salt tablets with you in the race. This way, you will avoid muscle cramps and the halt.
  8. Race in hot weather is not the one for PB. Cooling yourself down will drain lots of energy from the body and, like it or not, reduce your speed. Be flexible with your race plan - if you are set to keep a faster pace, be prepared to run slower. Don't worry, the heat will hit every runner.

All in all, running in the heat, pay more attention to nuances and don't expect records from yourself. Your health is above all!