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How to Feel Cooler When Walking or Racing in the Heat

Part 4: Heat Stress Risks and Exercise Guidelines
By Coach Gary Westlund

 More of this Feature
• Risk Factors of Heat Illness
• Heat Index and Heat Factors to Consider
• How to Feel Cooler
• Signs of Heat Illness
• Convert Fahrenheit and Celsius
Slow Down: Reduce your pace/speed, and therefore your metabolic internal heat production. Slow down!

Intervals: Intervals of rest and recovery should be taken during your long duration workouts. You may want to do your shortest, high intensity speed work with ample rests/recoveries between repeats on particularly hot days, rather than do your long walk.

Hydrate Right:Drink fluids before, during and after racing and training. Drink 400-600 ml (about a pint or 16 fluid ounces) before exercise, and about 200 ml every 15 minutes during aerobic exercise. Don't mistake loss of weight due to dehydration for loss of fat after training or racing. Drink 16 ounces of water for each pound of lost water-weight after training. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. A marathon costs about 2500 calories from both carbohydrate and fat substrates. If you train or race over an hour, add fluid replacement drinks (FRD's) to your training diet.
Drinking Recommendations for Distance Walkers

Acclimatization: Acclimate yourself to heat/humidity gradually over at least 7-14 days. The physiological adaptations gained by acclimatization are:
an increase in blood plasma volume
- an increase in perspiration rate
- a reduction in lost sodium in perspiration
- a reduction of blood flow to the skin (allowing that blood to carry O2 to the working muscles instead of to the skin surface for cooling).

Stay Out of the Sun: Avoid direct sunlight. Wear sunblock. Stay in the shade if possible. Leave the tangent on a road course for the shade when it's advisable to do so.

Cooler Clothing" Wear loose, high-tech, cooling fabrics and styles of skin-covering opaque clothing, including a hat.

Watch Your Heart Rate: Attend to your heart rate monitor. Train and race according to your heart rate monitor's report or your RPE, rather than according to some predetermined pace/speed. Remember that your workload (as measured in heart rate) at the same pace/speed increases as the temperature and humidity increases, by at least 1bpm for each degree above 77F/25C.

* Think of increasing heat and humidity as increasing the incline on your treadmill or roadway. Slow down! In dangerous heat/humidity conditions it's especially important to attend to how we're feeling. It's a matter of mind with body, not mind over body.

Ice: During longer races, like the marathon, you'll be offered ice. Take it and put some into your hat. I take the paper cup in which they offer the ice, and put the entire cup and ice into my hat. It really feels good, and it will help you. Ladies sometimes put a little ice into their bra tops as well. Also, since you'll be offered both fluid replacement drinks (FRDs) as well as water, use only the water over your head.

Sunglasses: No, RayBans won't cool you down, but they'll make you look cool! Let's relax, too. Actually, good UV protection of the eyes will reduce the risk of cataracts as we age, and that's cool, too.

Next page > Signs of Heat Sickness > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

• Risk Factors of Heat Illness
• Heat Index and Heat Factors to Consider • Signs of Heat Illness
• Convert Fahrenheit and Celsius

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