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Hot and Bothered

BY JOSH CROSBY
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER

“Just get me in the water!” This was all I was thinking during the second half of the run portion for a recent four-hour training session for an upcoming Odyssey swim/run race. (In these events, you swim to an island, run around said island, and then do it again and again.) My mind was serving me well considering it was 92 degrees, humid, not a cloud in the sky, and I was running up to four miles in a wetsuit and drenched shoes. What allowed me to get through this self-inflicted torture was knowing that as soon as I plunged back into the 64-degree Atlantic Ocean, my body temperature would regulate and my focus could turn back to steady strokes and consistent breathing. 

But I was also prepared. In the back of my Jeep I had set up a little aid station equipped with sunscreen, gels, a towel, and plenty of water. And I was glad I did. Being prepared with a few simple tools allowed me to minimize the heat’s effects on my performance and get the work in needed for a race-day victory. Try the following tips and test workout to hone your plan for beating the heat.

Listen to your body. Everyone deals with intense heat differently. If you aren’t feeling up to attacking it on a hot day, try an early morning workout or an air-conditioned gym session instead. 

Start out hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and eating well the day before and morning of will allow you start with some reserves. 

Plan well. Set up your own aid station and do loops throughout your session to access water, electrolytes, and sugars. 

Keep your cool. Cool it down by keeping a small towel in a cooler of ice water. Wrap the towel around you during a quick break, or even run with it around your neck. 

Pick your spots.  Locate your workout near a pool or the ocean and include a few dunks or swimming throughout.

Stay positive and aware. If you notice yourself thinking obsessively about water or cooling down, find a way to address it immediately. 

The Workout (50-60 minutes)

Run 3 miles (1.5 miles out and back) to your aid station 
Drink a few sips of water
Swim 500 meters (6-10 minutes)
Run 2 miles (1 mile out and back) to your aid station
Drink a few sips of water
Swim 400 meters
Run 0.5 miles
Consume water and electrolytes
Swim 300 meters

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