Summer is officially here at last, and the heat has been turned up across the country. That means you need to be even more careful on your training walks, especially as you work towards longer and longer training sessions. We want to keep all our 3-Dayers safe and sound through training, the 60 miles of your event, and beyond! With that in mind, here are some tips to use during your summer training walks.
Swap your pants for shorts, switch your sweatshirt for a tee, and wear light-colored clothing. Dark colors like black absorb the heat, which can make you feel even hotter. Also, choose lightweight, sweat-wicking clothing, and shy away from tighter styles. By keeping it loose and light, more air will be able to circulate over your skin, keeping you cool. Look for high-tech fabrics (not cotton) that pull sweat away from your body and help it evaporate more quickly.
Stretch it out
Get your muscles warm before your body really heats up! Stretching before your walks will help to deter muscle cramps and tiredness, especially during long walks. Don’t forget to stretch after you walk as well! Take off your shoes and stretch in the grass with your team or walking buddy. It gives you a few more minutes to enjoy the weather, and helps you stay loose. When you’re walking on the 3-Day, we encourage you to stretch at every stop light. Don’t worry – our crew and handy signs will remind you!
Drinking water during the summer is a careful balance. You want to be sure not to get dehydrated, and drink plenty of water, but you need to supplement your water with salty snacks or sports drinks in order to avoid a problem called hyponatremia, which stems from low blood sodium. So, stay away from sugary sodas, and stick to drinking water and sports drink during and after exercise and other physical activities.
Be sure to fuel your body with a good mix of protein, carbohydrate, salts, and fats. Trail mix is a great portable and heat-safe (as long as it doesn’t have chocolate chips!) option. Or, plan your walk with a mid-way stop for a snack or lunch.
Time your work out to avoid peak heat
This is especially important for longer walks where you will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Schedule your walks for the early morning or after the sun begins setting to stave off sunburn as well as excess tiredness. Above all, avoid the height of the day (noon to 3 pm) when the sun is hottest.
Protect your skin
SPF is a no brainer during the summer, but you can also protect yourself with hats and sunglasses, and shirts that have built-in SPF. Also, seek shade at intermittent times throughout your walks to give your skin a break from the sun.
Work your way up to longer work outs
You have probably already been doing this with group, team or solo training walks. It becomes even more important in the heat though! If you have a long walk scheduled, make sure to schedule it for later in the week, then do shorter walks in the days leading up to it. On the big day, grab a buddy to keep you motivated for your long walk!
Know your body
Above all, watch out for any weakness, light-headedness or dizziness. You should also keep an eye out for paling of the skin (especially after being out in the sun), headaches and any nausea. If anything feels off, cut your training short or skip your walk that day just to be safe. It’s great to work towards new goals, but you never want to overdo it. Be safe out there!