I live in the Midwest.
It’s hot and humid.
In spite of these facts, I will continue training throughout the summer. Managing the heat is something that all (well, virtually all) athletes have to deal with in various forms. For example, today was a typical Midwestern August afternoon with an air temp of 91 and a heat index of 99 degrees. If you aren’t familiar with the heat index, it’s explained as “a quantity expressing the discomfort felt as a result of the combined effects of the temperature and humidity of the air.” In short, it makes the hot day even more miserable.
But this is not just a situation that is unique to the Midwest or me. Last month, the director of the CrossFit Games, Dave Castro, announced that one of the events of the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games would be … “Murph.” I don’t have to remind you that last year’s Murph devastated a majority of the field both physically and mentally. Part of it was the fact that Murph (1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, 1-mile run — in a weighted vest) is a devastating workout on its own. If you couple that with the crushing July heat in Southern California, the combination took down CrossFit competitors from Annie Thorisdottir to rookies like Maddy Myers.
So it’s hot. It’s going to be hot for a while. What do you do to combat it? In the case of the top CrossFit athletes, what we are starting to see is more and more of them arriving in the California area earlier and earlier. If you want to contend for a top spot at the Games, heat acclimation is now a part of your overall prep for the Games.
Staying hydrated before you train is a great idea, but be careful to not drink water just for the sake of drinking water. Over-hydration is becoming an issue in CrossFit affiliates and on the practice fields everywhere. You want to drink when thirsty, but don’t just hydrate all day for the sake of hydrating.
Trying to get in the shade as much as possible also can be key. While some of the Games athletes might be actively seeking out sunny and hot training sessions to help adjust to the intense heat at the highest levels, it might not be the smartest approach for regular grinders like myself.
If you can’t beat the heat, you need to be safe about how you manage your training during these warm months.
How do you manage the heat and, in some cases, the humidity, too?
Stay on the grind.