A great thing about living in Florida is the weather. The ability to be able to train outdoors the year around is a blessing. However, one aspect of this privilege is seldom taken advantage of. That is training during the
hot daytime hours especially in the summer.
Back in 2010 when I found out that I got into Kona my coach at the time, five time Ironman Champion Heather Gollnick, told me she no longer wanted me to run in the cool of the early morning hours or ride the bike at the end of the day
when the sun starts to set. She told me to start training in the middle of the day. The goal was to train in the heat of the day. I did and it made me so much stronger both physically and mentally.
One important thing needs to be emphasized. You have to stay hydrated and be on top of your electrolytes. I will not go into details about the nutrition aspect, because everybody is different and there is no size fits all. This is something you need to figure out yourself, preferably with a nutritionist. Another important thing is to slow down. As the temperature goes
up your speed needs to slow down. Finally, build up the time that you are out there. Start with small sessions and gradually increase the length of time and effort.
There are studies that have shown the benefit of training in heat and how the body adapts. Do not let the heat during your lunch hour stop you from doing that run. Saturday and Sunday afternoons are better times to workout knowing that you can sleep in and not get up at 5am. Plus when the evening comes along you won’t be tired from having gotten up so early that morning.
You might even have the energy to go out at night and chill in a movie theater watching something on the big screen.
The best part is when you are at a race and as the sun rises you hear others complain about how hot it is getting and you just zip along thinking, “what heat, wow, this is nice and cool.” Your competitive advantage increases and heat will no longer hold you back physically or mentally. Do what other won’t do and you will find yourself standing head and shoulders above your competition. Stay hydrated and welcome the sun and heat as just another training tool in your quest to becoming a better triathlete. See you out there…….
USAT Florida Region Board Member