Tag Archives: hot weather

How I Hydrate (Especially Around Hot Desert Runs)

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Since I now live in the desert, the higher altitude fringe of the Las Vegas Valley, I’ve gained a lot of experience in running in these hot and dry conditions. To do well running in these conditions, i obviously had to learn how to hydrate effectively.

Workout hydration is a delicate balance. You need to hydrate to avoid the performance (and possibly health) damaging effects of dehydration. But if you consume more fluid than you need, you’re simply going to end up needing the restroom/toilet too often too soon to be worth the trouble.

Over my years of running I have through trial and error developed a useful approach to hydration that running in the hot Vegas desert has helped me fine tune into a reliable methodology.

It is worth noting that training with some degree of very mild dehydration can be useful for developing aerobic fitness. The line between useful and detrimental is very fine, not to mention the line between proper hydration and needlessly overloading your kidneys and bladder. You also must bear in mind that carrying hydration adds weight to your body and will to some subtle degree slow you down on your run.

Thus I don’t mind being a little “dry” during a training run, whether it’s an easy run, a harder speed workout, or a long run. However, I want to avoid tipping over the edge into performance loss from dehydration.

So, my objective is to go into a training session with a rudimentary amount of pre-run hydration, then hydrate as needed during or after the workout.

My Keys to Hydrating Workouts:

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It’s Too Hot. What to do?

Right now in most of the United States it’s rather hot. Las Vegas is in one of their hotter periods, with temperatures typically exceeding 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) on the edge of town and hitting 120 degrees (49 Celsius) in the city center.

If you work a day job, you’re probably fortunate, as you probably spend most of the day indoors in air conditioning. Even if the A/C can’t get the room to an ideal temperature, your conditions feel a lot better than the heat outside or non-A/C indoor conditions. Your only issue is dealing with still-hot conditions after 4-5pm, or if you don’t have climate controlled sleeping conditions to deal with still-warm nightfall.

For everyone else, dealing with the extreme midday heat is a problem. I got to deal with the midday heat quite a bit thanks to a non-traditional work schedule. If you don’t have ideal A/C conditions, here are three things you can do to mitigate the effects.

  • Go to the gym in the middle of the day. Most gyms are well air conditioned, and while exercise will heat you up and make you sweat moreā€¦ the conditions of the gym make this an ideal location to get some exercise in. Obviously, if you’re feeling worn out from the heat, you probably shouldn’t go all out in the gym. But I’ve found even when weary from midday hot weather, I can still get in a full strength workout. And I certainly take my time cooling down (in more ways than one!).
  • Cold water in the fridge, dosed every hour or so: If you don’t already, put a bottle of drinking water in your fridge. Every hour or so, or whenever the heat is rather unbearable, take it out and have a cup or so. You’re not just doing this to rehydrate after sweating and the heat, but you’re also slightly adjust the temperature in your body by introducing some cold liquid.
  • Take a nap. If you can manage to doze off in hot conditions, the mid-afternoon is a good time to take a bit of a nap and catch up on some extra sleep and recovery. I’m of course assuming you have nowhere to be and no pressing responsibilities. Obviously, don’t sleep through anything! But if you have most or all of the day to yourself, go ahead and try to sleep off these hot hours before things cool down a bit.
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