Preparing for the heat

Desert heat and beautyIn some parts of the U.S., spring is already yielding to summer weather, and someone pointed out recently that I haven’t written too often about heat training, which seems odd given my fondness for racing and tromping around in the hottest place on earth at the hottest time of the year. But it’s not a particularly complex subject, just one with important guidelines.

The following still applies:

It is possible to train, or acclimate to heat. Your body learns to sweat more, your veins come to the surface to aid in cooling, and your kidneys and lymph system learn to retain more sodium and other electrolytes. While humidity is a factor in some places, it is not much of a factor in deserts; less humidity means better evaporative cooling.

Heat training can be done anywhere, as long as you have access to a dry sauna … Read more and get a complete heat-training plan at

Deserts especially demand that you train your body to accept and process a lot of liquid so you stay hydrated. (A recent article in Runner’s World debunked some hydration myths, and these are useful to keep in mind.) Ultramarathons like the Badwater 135 in Death Valley, where temps can be over 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and Racing the Planet’s 4 Deserts Series offer extreme conditions where heat training and hydration can mean the difference between life and death. But, even if you don’t plan to do any of these, nor to do comparable distances, heat training can prepare you for shorter races in hot conditions, especially if you live in a milder climate than wherever you race is located.

Ultimately, you can get yourself ready for even the most intense locales in just three to four weeks with the plan offered above. The body has an amazing ability to adapt, both to freezing cold and blazing heat, and you can remain not only upright but moving forward in all conditions if you’ve trained your body to them.

P.S. Do you want to exercise longer and go farther on a hot day? Here’s a simple, tasty tip: enjoy this ice-cold drink. It’s been proven that if you cool your core temperature down with it, you can increase your effort.

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  1. Pingback: Preparing for the Heat | Havasu Hustlers Run Club

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