Whenever you find yourself about to step outside for a workout in warm weather, it’s extra important to be mindful of staying hydrated while you exercise. Intense exertion during the heat can cause:
- Excess sweating and loss of electrolytes
- Stomach distress
- Muscle cramps
- A full serving of electrolytes to replace what you sweat out and help reduce muscle cramping
- Simple sugars to keep you fueled (that won’t stress your digestive system!)
- 20-24 oz of water to stay hydrated
Managing Heat During a Race
Tailwind athletes Sarah Keyes and Kyle Curtin recently completed the 2021 Western States 100. Temperatures during the race were brutal, exceeding 100 degrees during much of the day. Despite this, they both had exceptional finishes, so we asked them to share their tips for managing the heat.
Kyle’s Heat Tips:
- Drink early and often. Starting the race fully hydrated and sipping fluids regularly right from the gun were key to make sure I was never playing catch-up.
- Heat training vs. heat management. Sure, you should probably prepare by running in the heat to train, but if you stay cool and sweat less, you'll have to replace a little less. WSER provided about a pound of ice, per mile, per runner. I made sure to use all that ice in my vest, bandana, hat, and to keep my Tailwind Endurance Fuel cold. There were plenty of streams to splash some water on my limbs and dunk my hat and I made sure to at least wet my hat before leaving each one. And for the parts where there wasn't a creek, I carried an extra water bottle to spray on myself whenever my skin started to get dry.
- Make drinking as easy as possible. I picked up this one from a thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail named Happy. I keep my bottles in my vest up on my chest where the tip is already close to my mouth so I can just bend my neck to drink. I want to be able to drink on technical downhills and while I'm still in my running motion without any extra steps.
- Check your pee! Make sure to take into account color, frequency, and volume. Any changes can be in indication of either too much, or too little, water and electrolytes.
- Take it easy. On a day as hot as we had at WSER, you have to adjust your expectations to account for how difficult the heat can make endurance sports. My race strategy was to take it easy and just not blow up my legs in the middle of the day, and then hope to make up time and places when the heat let off in the evening.
Sarah’s Heat Tips:
- Start the race well hydrated. I’ve long believed that the weeks leading up to the race are just as important as the night before when it comes to hydration.
- Ladies- it’s very important to know where you are in your hormone cycle going into an event with extreme conditions. During high hormone phase our core temperature can rise and sodium excretion increases, making conditions even tougher. There are ways to offset this!
- Take the extra time to keep cool; the extra 20 seconds it takes to dunk your hat or yourself in a water source is well worth it! Keep skin and clothes wet!
- Anyone who’s run a 100 miler knows their stomach may revolt at some point, the heat really only exasperates that. Train your gut to take in Endurance Fuel during most of your training runs, I take a handheld on all my summer runs and anything over an hour at other times. Play around with the concentration during training. Being able to get in calories and hydration is so paramount, especially when feeling less than great.
- Mental resilience; learn to love the heat. Run in the heat of the day during training. I live in a place with 6 months of winter, so I try to remind myself of those cold dark runs when in the heat.
Time to lace up!
Slather on that SPF, grab your Endurance Fuel, and head out into the sun! If you’re still not sure about your hydration plan, we’re always available to answer questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.