On Monday night one of the club’s very experienced endurance runners asked me questions because he had felt terrible and had to stop only metres into the last of some 500 metre reps he was doing.
In my view there were two possible causes which could be related – dehydration or heat exhaustion.
When this country last had a prolonged spell of hot weather like this (1976) I experienced something very similar 9 miles into an 11 mile run I suddenly developed a really bad headache and felt as if I was approaching a Callum Hawkins moment (collapsing in a heap by the side of the road). When I got home I weighed myself and was 7 pounds below my usual racing weight at the time (which was only 9 stone 4 pounds). I thought I had been re-hydrating religiously but on reflection I believe that a small daily hydration deficit over a number of days had caused me to seriously dehydrate on that particular run (I never re-hydrated on a run). I now get my performance athletes to check their weight – particularly in hot weather as weight loss is one way of identifying this particular problem. The pee test is another good way to check your hydration levels if you are properly hydrated it should be the colour of straw – the darker it is the more dehydrated you are.
As ever if you google Athletics Training in Hot Weather lots of options come up; here is one:
Some key tips are:
1. Wait until the cooler part of the day (or train early).
2. Pick a venue with shade if possible.
3. Wear a cap and other appropriate clothing.
4. Extend recovery time between reps.
5. Reduce the volume of the session.
6. Ensure you are properly hydrated before you start.
7. Drink water between reps.
8. Ensure you re-hydrate properly after the session.
9. Wear sun cream.
Although the above are aimed primarily at middle distance and endurance athletes the majority of them are equally valid for all athletes.
Keith Brackstone – Club Development Adviser