Climate Control

Our gym’s temperature fluctuates with the seasons.  During this past week of hot weather it’s well over 80 degrees by noon, sometimes getting into the 90’s.  It has not stopped any of us or our members from showing up, and merely slowing down a bit.  Is this a bad thing, that due to the heat we have to dial back our training intensity?  My answer is a resounding no, and is based on my own personal experiences.

Training in the heat of summer, for me, all started with a British marathoner named Peter.  I was learning to love running, and would do so at lunch with Peter next to the railroad tracks in Fort Collins.  Peter shared many of his training and racing tricks with me.  The one trick that I utilize to this day is never stopping your outdoor training regardless of the temperature.  As a world class racer he knew that the weather didn’t care when race day was, and that your body should be ready for all temperatures and conditions.  We would run on 100 degree plus days, knowing that we’d run slower, but also knowing that our bodies were adapting to the seasons.

So what are some the real world benefits of training in hot environment?

  • Learn your limits in a safe place (not in the backcountry or in a race).  Right now it’s hot out, and we are still going to go outside and remain active.  Wouldn’t you rather push yourself just a little too far with people and resources around to help quickly?  Like CrossFit states, vary everything.
  • Many professions (firefighters, policeman, military) have no option but to continue their work when it’s hot out.   These professsionals have on all of their tactical gear on too; they had better be able to perform and deal with their bodies when the temperature rises.
  • The trails (walking, running, biking and hiking – to name a few) will be mostly empty if you get used to being out in the heat.  Not too many can handle the heat, because they avoid it.  Also your season will be, in effect, longer because you won’t have to stop when the mercury rises.
  • Race and Game Days don’t care what weather is doing.
  • You get to sweat a lot, and this feels good, and is good for you!

On the flipside, there are serious consequences if you over do it in the heat. Click here to see what the Mayo Clinic has to say about the risks of training when it’s too hot and your body is not adapted.  It is critical that you ease into training when it’s hot out, listening to, cooling, and hydrating your body as needed.

I was surprised to see that my time the top of Homestead trail was good, given the heat and poor air quality.  Then I was even more pleasantly surprised when I did not cross paths with a single person as I descended back to the valley floor.

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