First: please take a second to go vote for Ramona for the cutest pet contest at my apartment complex. Yes, I have decided to get competitive about this! Please help by LIKING THIS PHOTO!
Now to regularly scheduled programming:
Since getting back from Australia, it’s been a whirlwind! I did end up going to Chattanooga to race, and while it wasn’t ideal to come out of being sick + jet lag to face a race in heat and humidity, it pulled the bandaid off the race season and did get me excited to race some more.
Speaking of heat and humidity…..that situation is REAL right now in the mid Atlantic and southeast! After living in this part of the country for, well, my whole life, I have a strategy for how athletes best survive here: EMBRACE IT!
Seriously! I used to hate running and biking hills. When I was in college and dabbling in triathlon, I’d do anything to avoid the hilly stuff. Until one of my good friends and triathlon superstar, Annie, gave me her secret: she said you just tell yourself you love them. Over and over, and do them as much as you can. Every time you hate it, say *out loud* “I love these hills!” And eventually it’s not that bad.
I’ve chosen to take that same approach with the humid and hot summers that we tend to get here in Virginia. Admittedly, it’s a little easier because I think I’m happiest when I’m tan, in a sports bra and running shorts, and in the heat, rather than bundled up trying to stay warm. But, that doesn’t mean that training has come easy for me in these conditions. When the temperature starts rising and the humidity is off the hook, I fall back on my top 3 to get over the hump of those first few weeks:
-Sunscreen! This is key. Finding a sunscreen that is thin enough you don’t feel like you’re wearing Elmer’s glue, but actually works is key. I suggest Zealios Sun Barrier — with the code “ironwomen” you get 20% off too. Also: don’t forget about your lips! Use chapstick with SPF!
-Electrolytes! If you know me, you know that I rarely drink plain water. I simply don’t like the taste….or lack of a taste. So my NUUN habit is a constant no matter the time of year or training that I’m doing, but it comes in especially handy during these heavy sweating months. The code “ironwomen” will get you 30% off at nuunlife.com. My favorites are the Strawberry Lemonade NUUN Sport, and the Strawberry Lemonade NUUN Endurance (has caffeine!).
-Think outside the box! Sauna training is a great tool, and the science behind it is very promising. But sauna training means you 1. Have to have access to a sauna, and 2. Have the time to devote to ANOTHER workout session. Not ideal for triathletes already stretching themselves thin! By timing some workouts throughout the week in the hotter times of day — and timing others so they are NOT in the hottest times of the day — you can help your body acclimate and make some heat gains. Trail running is also a great thing to mix in when it works because it’s often cooler under the shade of trees in a trail.…not to mention strategically placed swimming holes (unless you’re like me and would never get in one for fear of snakes!) Or maybe you have Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway within reach…..it’s generally at least 10 degrees cooler up there, and that’s a great spot for some training.
-Patience! Unfortunately I don’t have a discount code for you for this one. But I can assure you that after spending many summers now in the heat and humidity of the east coast, my tune has changed: I now believe that I can race just as strong the heat as I can in perfect conditions. With a few little tweaks and some planning, it’s doable, but now is the time to make those chances, and perhaps most importantly, mentally embrace the conditions!