As runners we always like to take ourselves out of our comfort zones and take our training and racing to the next level. However (especially if you’re British) you’ll no doubt moan when it gets hot (on the rare occasions it does!) however did you know training in the heat is really good for your performance?
I write this latest blog from my warm weather training camp in Murcia, Spain. A location we’ve used many times previously, it has an amazing climate, offers fantastic trails, track access, superb physio and gym support at Innova and offers great value in terms of travel and accommodation.
But before you reach for your sun cream and head off to the airport it’s important not just to jump straight into heat training. We’re here in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. In my position as a reserve I want to be as prepared as possible should circumstances change and I find myself on the plan to Tokyo. I want to be as ready as I can be, even if that means pushing myself to my limit and getting out of my comfort zone in the heat. We’ve trained and built up for this over the years.
It’s true that no one has ever improved his or her fitness by taking things easy, however heat training in the right environment can offer a highly beneficial training effect.
The heat training effect goes beyond just preparing for competition in the heat. It offers many benefits with studies showing that heat training can offer a multitude of training effects including increased plasma volume, meaning you can send more blood to your skin to cool without compromising blood supply to working muscles. A decrease in heart rate also helps whilst also after seven days exposure research suggests a lower core temperature at the onset of sweating. This all means you can run faster in all conditions.
Word of caution if you do head off to warmer climates for training, make sure you hydrate well and drink generously. Electrolytes are best if you can stock up prior to traveling. You need to drink plenty when you first arrive to adapt to the change in temperature.
When it comes to times, don’t be afraid to adjust paces on real hot days based on feel, although you may find easier running is actually quicker than normal. When it comes to sessions feel your way into the hard work and drink during the workout if you can.
As always don’t forget sun cream and the big one, remember to have fun and enjoy yourself. Remember a happy runner is a fast runner! If you’re sensible and you make the sensible decisions then you too can benefit from being uncomfortable in the heat! Stay safe and drink up!
If you’d like more advice and guidance training in the heat please get in touch today. If you’re looking for a training plan for your next event head over to our TrainingPeaks page here.