🏃♂️ Beat the Heat
After a two-week summer break, we are back to the weekly newsletter. We hope you are enjoying the weather and getting ready for your fall races.
This week we talk about pre-workout meals, heat training and racing, and core strength.
Happy running, 😁
Pre-Workout Meal Plan
Last Saturday, I woke up super late for my long run and skipped my regular pre-workout meal.
Terrible mistake. I felt sluggish, my heart rate was high, and my pace was slow; I regretted those extra 30 minutes in bed.
Pre-workout meals can make or break not only your workout but your recovery, too.
What to consider when planning a pre-workout meal?
For runners, the focus of that meal should be on carbohydrates that will sit comfortably in your stomach. You want the energy without having GI issues.
Try to focus on these things when planning your meals:
- Choose foods closest to their natural source, minimally processed foods. Pasta or pastries are a big no-no before a workout.
- Get a mix of simple sugars, monosaccharides.
- Glucose. Sports drinks or honey.
- Fructose. Fruits
- Galactose. Milk and milk products. If you are lactose intolerant, avoid them.
- Ingest something 30 to 60 minutes before your run.
- Stay hydrated. A great way to consume carbs and stay hydrated before a run is to drink a sports drink.
My pre-workout meal.
After a lot of testing and taking into consideration the points above, my pre-workout meal (especially before a long run) looks like this:
- Around 60 minutes before. One cup of oatmeal with an apple and some granola.
- About 30 minutes before. A bottle of Gatorade.
I tested many different pre-workout meals, and this one gives me enough energy to complete a 2-hour long run without GI problems.
The best way to find out what works best for you is to try different things over time. Just follow the guidelines above.
Beat the Heat
It’s hotter than ever in most of the northern hemisphere, and knowing how to prepare and cool off for a hot race can be the difference between a PB and a DNF.
When talking about training in the heat, we can look at it from two different sides:
- How to prepare for a hot race.
- How to cool off during hot summer days.
Prepare for a hot race.
Acclimation training aims to expand plasma volume, increase sweating, and boost vasodilation at your skin, so your body can offload heat as effectively as possible.
This research shows that women need to do at least ten days of heat acclimatization, and men need to do five days.
There are two main heat adaptation sessions you can do:
- Wear more layers. You can stress your body’s thermoregulation system to kick-start the heat dissipation responses by simply wearing more layers while training. Start by doing a few easy workouts in long sleeves and then work up to adding a cap. Ensure everything is breathable; the goal is to simulate a hot environment, not giving yourself a heat stroke.
- Sauna protocol. Hit the sauna for 25-30 minutes after a workout or at the end of the day when you’re already a little dehydrated. The combination of low blood volume and thermal stress triggers a cascade of physiological reactions that help your body cope with heat stress.
Getting Ready for Race Day
On race day, follow the next steps to perform at your best during a hot race:
- Keep it Cool. Your goal is to start your event with a cool core. Don’t exercise hard, get into a sauna, or do anything to drive your core temperature up in the 24 hours before your event.
- Cold Shower. Precool your body if possible by immersing yourself in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. It’ll drop your skin and core temperature, so you’re nice and cool for the start.
- Cold Beverage. Drink an icy beverage to lower your core temperature and create a heat sink. This will help you tolerate a higher core temperature during exertion and push back the onset of heat-induced fatigue.
- Cold Towels. Cool your skin with moist towels. Just don’t go too far and try packing yourself in ice. Ice on the skin is too cold and actually constricts your blood vessels.
Medicine Ball Core Workout
A strong core is the foundation of proper running form and being an injury-free runner.
Having a strong core keeps your pelvis aligned and your body balanced throughout the run so the proper muscles are working and the run does not create too much impact on the joints.
You can do planks and crunches to strengthen your core, but a medicine ball will take your core workout to the next level as it works your core, upper body, and balance in one short, efficient routine.
How to do it.
Perform each exercise below for 12 reps, resting for 30 seconds between exercises. Repeat the entire circuit a total of 3 times.
When to do it.
You can perform this quick routine as a warm-up of your easy runs or add them to your strength training session. Working on your core strength twice a week will do wonders for your running times.
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