Summer training, in the higher temperatures and humidity, can provide some great opportunities to receive big fitness gains. The tough weather conditions have been shown to have similar physical benefits to training at altitude and the mental challenge of it can make us stronger runners. But like training at altitude there also comes with the opportunity a risk of over doing it and pushing too hard. To get the maximum benefits from your summer training focus on 4 areas:
- Adjust your training paces. Just like when training at altitude you have to adjust your training paces because your body has to work harder than at cooler temperatures. Adjust more at first and less as your body becomes acclimatized to the conditions. Insisting on trying to run the same paces as you can in cooler weather will just cause you to work too hard and over-train.
- Focus on good hydration. While important all year long, the risk of dehydration or sub-optimal hydration is greatest in the summer weather. Be sure to adopt good hydration practices (100+ oz per day and drinking spread-out through-out the day) and stay diligent to them every day.
- Recovery, recovery, recovery. The summer conditions are extra hard on us mentally and physically, so we must be sure we recover adequately from our stress workouts. Be diligent on all your recovery protocols, keeping easy runs slow, stretching, rolling & massage, ice baths, and sleep. The harder you train, the better you must recover.
- Keep a positive attitude. It is easy to get frustrated and start complaining about high summer temperatures and humidity levels. But keeping a positive attitude is key to making training sustainable. Adjust training paces accordingly for the conditions but don't dwell on weather, instead stay positive and focus on the purpose and benefits of the training. The body tends to follow the mind so staying positive will help you feel better and get the most from training.
Coach Mark Hadley