Heat Acclimation Training
Most people stare in disbelief at the runner that is out logging in their miles in the heat of the day. It is 100 degrees outside, most people are in a pool or sitting in their air-conditioned homes avoiding the heat.
Just standing outside you begin to sweat, so naturally you cannot fathom exercising in this heat. Most exercise enthusiasts will at least wait until the heat breaks to get outside for their workout to avoid overheating. But if you understand the benefits of heat acclimation training, you would do the exact opposite. In fact, you would run in the highest temperature point of the day, and you would push yourself the same as in any other run.
As a marathoner runner, instead of glaring in disbelief, I look at this runner in amazement, wondering who that runner is. I also wonder if they realize just how beneficial the heat training they are performing is. Heat acclimation is considered the new altitude training. In fact, in a University of Oregon study, just 10 days of training for 100 minutes in the heat of the day produced a 5% increase of VO2 Max. This demonstrated that heat acclimation training does not just make you better at dealing with the heat; it makes a stronger, quicker and more efficient runner.
The benefits of this practice come from reducing your cushioning… getting more comfortable with being a bit uncomfortable. Giving yourself that extra push to get to the next level. You are only as quick and strong as you allow yourself to be. Let me share with you just how you can prepare yourself for heat acclimation training—because there are so many performance benefits you do not want to miss!
Hydrate the day prior to your run with water and one glass of any drink with electrolytes (Nuun, Gatorade, Powerade or whatever you choose). This will help you to avoid overheating during your run. Every 90 minutes you can have 3 ounces of water. I know this does not seem like a lot and that is because it isn’t. But one of the major contingents of benefits is slight dehydration.
Slight dehydration will help you but over dehydration will not. So, know your body and listen to its cues. Additionally, this is only for heat acclimation training, not all training sessions. This uncomfortable training method teaches your body to adapt to this and get stronger!
Wear lightweight and breathable clothing during your heat acclimation training. If you are going to sweat like a pig, why not do so in the most comfortable wear. Dressing properly is a key component in avoiding overheating. I usually wear a breathable sports bra and shorts in my training. Skim down your workout wear and get moving!
Feel Free to Take a Break
As you build yourself up to heat acclimation training, feel free to take a walking break if need be in the beginning. Once you build up your tolerance to being uncomfortable, it will get easier—or at least you will learn how to work through it. A lot of this build up is also in being mentally strong, keeping your head up and just believing!
Start Out Slow
Start out with just 20 minutes of heat acclimation training and build yourself up to more. Each day add 10 minutes to your training until you reach 100 minutes. The longer the duration, the more benefits you will experience. So, build up your tolerance and you will get stronger along with achieving your best shape ever!
Within your 30-minute workout, be sure to replenish with a lean protein meal. I usually have a protein shake or egg whites. This will help to build muscle and decrease soreness while helping to slim down. Be sure to have several glasses of water as well and elevate your feet to quicken the recovery process.
Prepare to Do It All Over Again
Get to bed sleepy head, nice and early! This will help you to make sure to sleep adequately for 8-10 hours to make the most out of this performance training. I guarantee you will need it even more because this training is strenuous on the body.
It is still up in the air if this is due to how taxing this training is on your body or because you must teach your body to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Regardless of the reason, get your rest and prepare to perform your heat acclimation training all over again tomorrow.
Just remember: this sky is limit because anything is possible if you put hard work, time and energy to making the most out of your training. So, go ahead and push yourself to maximize your training sessions!