Tara Gidus

Sweet & Sweaty Summertime: Training in the Heat

Heat, humidity, and more heat. Summer ushers in sun-filled days and balmy nights, but can also pose a major threat to your training plan. Temptations to relax and live in vacation-mode, coupled with scorching hot conditions, can hit your motivation hard. With so many runDisney race opportunities coming up in the fall, it's important to stick to your training plan now more than ever. Consider these guidelines below as you get ready to hit the roads this summer!

  • Start hydrated. Easier said than done. You need to ensure you're hydrated before heading out the door. Urine color and urine volume are easy indicators of this – aim for a high volume of pale-yellow urine. Drink 20 fluid ounces of water or sports drink 2-3 hours prior to your run and then another 10 fluid ounces in the last 10 minutes before your run. If you plan to run in the morning, hydrate before bed – a few nighttime trips to the bathroom will be worth it!

  • Rehydrate. Drenched in sweat and salt after your summertime run, you walk inside to the air conditioning and hop into a cold shower. But before you get too comfortable, you need to make it a priority to rehydrate. Your fluid levels have been hit hard, so drinking enough water and electrolytes after your workout is crucial to recovery. Drink 24 ounces for every pound lost through exercise.

  • Don't forget about electrolytes. While water can do wonders for hydration, electrolytes can assist in fluid absorption and balance. Sports drinks provide both electrolytes and carbohydrates to ensure a boost in energy and performance. Electrolyte tablets can be added to water, making it more appealing to drink and also offering a no-carb option. If you plan to run for more than an hour in the heat, consider bringing an electrolyte-packed drink to sip on.

  • Beat the heat. Mid-day workouts might have been effective during the cold winter months, quite the opposite is true during the summer. The best way to get in your run during the summer is to beat the sun – wake up early and hit the roads! It's important to compensate for your earlier alarm by getting to bed earlier. Nothing will hinder your workout more than lack of sleep.

  • Stay realistic. Extreme temperatures and humidity have an impact on your ability to perform, and it is important to recognize this when creating your training plans. When your body's cooling system becomes overloaded, blood that was previously routed toward your muscles is instead sent to your skin to help cool it down. This can hinder your speed. Stay calm and realistic when evaluating your performance during the summer. Slow down. Often pace can and should slow 30-60 seconds per mile in the heat and humidity.

What motivates you to get in your run during the hottest months? Questions or comments tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.