Simple strategies to hammer strong in rising temperatures
BY STEVE BORN
Summer weather extremes can make a tough race even tougher. Not only can the heat put a damper on your finish time, but it also can result in serious medical problems if you do not prepare and respond properly. Take these simple but important precautions to beat the heat and finish strong.
1) Train in the heat. Heat acclimatization and fitness reduce fluid and electrolyte losses by up to 50%.
2) Stay properly hydrated all day long. Since approximately 60% of your body is comprised of water, it's vitally important to maintain optimal hydration status all day long, especially if you're going to be exercising in hot weather. Unfortunately, many people live in a state of perpetual dehydration, and that negatively affects their athletic performance and health. Starting now, gradually increase your fluid intake - primarily from pure, clean water - so that the total number of ounces you're drinking on a daily basis equals 0.5 to 0.6 your body weight in pounds (e.g., a 150-lb athlete should consume 75- 90 ounces of fluids daily, in addition to what is being consumed during exercise).
3) Drink appropriate amount of fluids during exercise. Don't assume that you can drink unlimited amounts of water or fluid during exercise and that all of it will be absorbed, with the excess excreted in sweat or urine. You will instead bloat, overly dilute your blood, and perhaps even develop water intoxication (i.e. hyponatremia). Keep fluid intake during exercise between 20-25 ounces per hour, plus or minus 3-4 ounces, depending on your weight and the weather. If you feel you need more fluids than what you normally consume, experiment in training, keeping in mind that you will require additional electrolytes to match your increased fluid intake.
4) Increase your Endurolytes dose or use Endurolytes Extreme. If you're exercising in weather that you're not yet acclimated to, your electrolyte losses will be higher than normal, so you will either have to increase your intake of Endurolytes, or use Endurolytes Extreme. The same applies if you have unusually high sweat rates, often due to high dietary sodium intake.
5) Avoid foods and fuels that contain short-chain carbohydrates. Simple-sugar-based fuels require more fluids and electrolytes for digestive purposes. Stick with the complex carbohydrates (maltodextrin) in Hammer Nutrition's fuels. Also, remember that in hot weather your ability to process calories will most likely diminish; adjust your caloric intake accordingly.
6) Use Liquid Endurance prior to your hot-weather workouts and events. Glycerol, the active ingredient in this one-of-a-kind product, safely and effectively prepares your body for heat exposure by maximizing intercellular water levels, to be called upon as needed during activity. Liquid Endurance minimizes the potential for dehydration, it significantly increases cooling efficiency and improves thermoregulation, all of which maximize exercise performance in hot weather.
7) Pace yourself accordingly. If the weather is hot, and especially if you're not acclimated, it can't be business as usual when it comes to your pace. Until your body adjusts to the heat, slow down in deference to the weather.
8) Use caffeine with caution. Used properly and sparingly, caffeine has impressive ergogenic benefits. However, it is believed to have diuretic properties, which may deplete fluid stores more rapidly. Caffeine is also a central nervous stimulant, which may increase your heart rate, making it work even harder in the heat.
9.) Get wet. During the hottest weather conditions, sponge yourself off with cold water, while taking short periodic breaks from race pace.
10.) Know the symptoms of overhydration and dehydration. Stop immediately if you feel lightheaded or queasy or get the dry chills. No race or training is worth compromising your health.