Friday, July 12, 2013

Training in the Heat

My work requires me to be outside much of the time, so because of that I also train / exercise during the heat of the day too. There are several articles about training in the heat and since that is my regular practice, I'd throw in my 2 cents worth too.

Today's run was 6 miles in 98 degree weather. I left the house around noon with my shoes, socks, shorts, Camelbak with ice and water (around my waist), cell phone, knife, GPS, heart rate monitor, hat, glasses and sunscreen. No PR's or records today - well maybe a slowest pace record (avg 9:35/mi), rather today was about survival and forcing myself not to walk or cut short the route.

I noticed my heart rate was up compared to my pace and exercition level (often in the 170's), but many of the articles state that one of the benifits of training in the heat increases the volume of plasma. I've noticed this on other runs and rides where the temps are high, my heart rate will be higher than expected for the performance I'm getting: which isn't surprising due to the heat. The take-away for me is that heart rate is a complex result of many factors: nutrition, rest, temp, performance, stress, ...
I will continue to run and cycle in the heat, but I am aware of the risks and think I'm doing it safely. I was recently told by a medic that I shouldn't be out exercising in the heat ...

I was almost done with my road ride, 26 mi, and noticed a person pointing up on the side of the road. There is a trail there that is part of the Mountain Bike trails, so I was familiar with them. I stopped and called out, but the person never responded. So I left my road bike on the side walk and climbed up the side of the incline to the person and trail above. The person was a female MTB rider. Her bike was a little further up the incline on the trail. She was laying there breathing with a pulse, but not responsive. The person on the road called 9-1-1 while I stayed up with her. I used the ice water that was left in my camelbak and sprinkled it on her head and down her spine - figuring she was over heated and unconscious as a result, or she could have crashed and ... not sure why she was like it, but I didn't see any harm in cooling her body while we waited for the professionals to arrive. Another passer by came up and took his shirt off to provide a little shade for her as she layed there, even convulsing at times. The paramedics put a neck brace on her and put her on a stretcher and then down the incline into the ambulance. She was by herself, so I asked them to take her bike to the station for her to pick up later - which they did. I don't know what happened to her or her current condition, but I'm assuming she's OK now. Hopefully she will not be riding the trails alone anymore. (Something that I do myself, but I tell myself that I'm careful and it's ok. I hope I'm right!)

... so as they loaded her onto the stretcher she started vomiting. It was at this point that the medic that "WE" shouldn't be out exercising in the heat of the day. I didn't say anything. I knew what he was trying to say ... that people that aren't prepared or used to the heat, shouldn't be out at a risk to them selves - as this lady was. As for me, I gave the last of my water in an attempt to cool her down and rode home the last few miles thankful that I was able to be of help to her, maybe even was a part of saving her life?!

So, if you are going to train in the heat, you might as well carry a little extra gear so you can help someone who may not be used to training in the heat. And if that never happens, carrying a few extra lbs of gear will just make you stronger physically and you'll have the saitfaction of knowing you were ready if there were a need.

Keep training .. even in the heat! Just know your limits and be prepared ...
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