Reply To: Let's talk about salt


Here are some recommendations that I sent my individual coached athletes today.  That said, if you are drinking almost 2 bottles per hour, I highly recommend in this heat that you limit water.  50% is dangerous unless you are adding in salt tablets or other sources of electrolytes.  Your body must have electrolytes to absorb any fluids you intake including water.  Electrolytes are your friend especially if you have low blood pressure and/or heavy sweat rates.

And here are my recommendations for training in extreme heat.

First off, you do this for enjoyment!  Therefore, we must keep you safe and healthy.  Training and racing is purely at your discretion.  Just because Training Peaks emails you a workout does not mean it must be done.  You have the ultimate decision here.  However here are a few tips to help you if you chose to do your workouts.
1.  Hydrate – Hydrate all day long, before your workout, during your workout and after your workout.  Do NOT go into a workout dehydrated in any way.  If so, do not proceed.  It can be dangerous, even deadly.  More on that…
2.  Consume Sodium – Electrolytes are your friend. Please do not head out for your workout with water.  This is not the time.  Due to sweating, you must replace electrolytes that water cannot replace.  If you continue to wash away the rest of your electrolytes with water, your body cannot absorb any fluids that you intake.  This can lead to hyponatremia, even rhabdomylosis.  Both can be deadly in extreme conditions.  You must be consuming electrolytes, whether in your sports drink, salt tablets or otherwise.  However you must be taking them at a baseline of 400-800 mg (likely much more in this type of extreme heat).
3.  Wake Up Early – It is cooler in the early mornings 🙂
4.  Train Indoors – Everyone knows how I feel about the treadmill. 🙁  However there is a time and place for indoor training.  Perhaps this is an option you want to consider this weekend.  If so, form must be a priority.
5.  Lower Intensity – Do not expect to run as fast in 100 degree temperatures as you do in 65 degree temperatures.  This is when you need to be very aware of your heart rate zone training, talk test and perceived exertion to recognize how the heat is impacting you.  Even if the workout calls for race specific efforts, dial back the intensity.  You will need to (know how to) do this during a race too!
6.  Listen to your body – Obviously there are some benefits of training in the heat if you might be racing in the heat.  Whether training or racing, listen to your body.  It knows best. If your body (or mind) calls it quits, listen to it!
Ultimately training (and racing) in extreme heat is your decision.  Train smart! Be safe!