Thursday, July 14, 2011

Warm Weather Training Tips

Was it this hot last summer? If it was, my memory was erased from all the cold weather earlier on in the year! With the temperatures and heat index climbing this summer we all need to take extra precautions to stay safe! Here are a few tips that have worked for me!


First things First, Mom & Justin... I am talking directly to you here. Listen to what I have to say, because I will not be picking you up off the ground when you fall over from dehydration. I may or may not be serious here! Walking without water, or thinking a Dasani water bottle is enough, its not. Bottom line, if you're not having to make a pit stop every 3-4 miles, your not drinking enough water. If your urine is not clear, your not drinking enough water. With that being said...

Drink, drink and drink more water! At one time, I had a hard time drinking enough water before and during walks, I'd find my fingers swelling and feeling uncomfortable. I started setting goals for myself. Drink a liter of water before lunch, a liter after lunch, a liter while walking and another before bed. Walking while hydrated will make a huge difference in your performance. When LaCroix was a sponsor for the 2008 walks, I became hooked on sparkling water. I hear it's an acquired taste for some, but it definitely helps break up the monotony taste of water!

The night before a long walk, my trick is to freeze one of my water bottles. I fill it  75% with water and leave it with the cap off in the freezer. In addition, I put a 12oz Gatoraide in the freezer. Before the walk, I fill one waterbottle with ice water, the frozen bottle filled with water and the gatoraide in a coozy, which goes in my pack. Your water will stay colder for longer and around the time you hit 8 to 10 miles, pull out the gatoraide and you will have a nice slushy and an added boost!

Plan Your Walk
When I think of training walks, I think walking after work and Saturday & Sunday mornings. If you work full time like me, walking after work is a great option. Well, that was until we saw the heat index soar above 100! Walking at 5pm was no longer safe and waiting too late in the evening limits how long and far you can go. What about walking before work? I know what you thinking, crazy talk! I'm the first person to tell you, I value that sleep before work and many mornings I am pushing my  snooze limits. Granted my first before work walk was just this morning, but it is quickly going to become a weekly routine. Best parts, its cool and I have free time in the evenings again, did I mention I was energized for work? I will keep you posted of my progress with these early morning walks!

Weekend walks: I like to start them when the sun comes up, just like my new found before work walks! Starting them early gives you the benefit of cooler weather, and a longer time frame to get those miles in before the heat takes over! Be sure to apply your sunscreen before you head out too!

Plan Your Route
When I plan a route, I look for restrooms every 3-5 miles and a good snack stop. In the past McDonalds, Starbucks and Chick-Fli-a have been the winners. Take time when you are at a rest stop, enjoy the air conditioning, clean restrooms and re-fill those waterbottles with ice water and Gartoraide. Take advantage of snacking options too! Sometimes the protein bar I have packed isn't going to cut it or I don't have a taste for the one I packed. But a chicken biscuit or an order of hash-browns will satisfy me and boost my energy to get back out in the heat and finish! Oh, and Starbucks has the best tasting ice water!

What to Wear

My 3-day gear has become a little bit of an investment. In 2008, I found what worked and what didn't work, and it wasn't cheap. I love Target, an normally you can't go wrong, but... I am not a fan of Targets C9 gear. While cost effective, C9 shorts do not wick away the sweat and the tanks always found a way to rub me the wrong way. (Remember this is just my opinion!) You want to make sure your clothing is snug but not too tight. When you wear clothes that are too tight or  even too lose, it will cause friction that can result in chafing. I've invested in  Nike shorts, and haven't looked back since! In addition, I've seen many 3-day walkers wearing compression shorts underneath their shorts to prevent potential friction. In addition to Nike shorts, I prefer either Under Armour or Champion tanks without the built in bra. Now to a sports bra, avoid cotton at all costs and make sure its comfortable! Cotton will not wick away your sweat and will cause friction, which results in chafing.  I think I've already professed my love for Balega socks, no need to revisit! You will thank me for this tip, change your socks every 8-10 miles or more depending on the heat. Again, these are just a few tips of what I have found that works for me by trial an error! I still have all of the gear that didn't pass the test and I wear them on the short 2-5 mile walks, so it has not been a total loss!

Last weekend on the first long walk for the team, I had a team member that experienced a chafing issue, that actually cut her walk short. The extreme heat and improper gear was top blame and we were on the trail without our prevention tricks.  Since the location was on her leg, this could have been prevented by compression shorts and body glide or Vaseline. Applying, glide to areas that are prone to rubbing during a walk is key. This means between your legs, waist and arm area. Be sure your glide is with you during walks so that you are not caught far from home in an tough spot. Remember, if you feel a hot spot or something doesn't feel right when walking, stop and take a moment to reapply. We will be better prepared for the next walk!

One last tip, fabric softener will remove the wicking qualities from your gear! Be sure you are washing your walking cloths separate! (This is probably a good idea anyway!)

The Pack
It is key that you figure out what works for you before the event. I use the pack from the 3-day Shop, but most of my teammates use a Northface pack or a MoutainSmith. I've seen Camelbacks and backpacks, but remember the key is to find what works for you that will hold all of your necessities. At all times my pack includes, 2 waterbottles, 1 to 2 pairs of socks, (depending on mileage include more socks!) glide/Vaseline, blister kit with nail clippers, bandaids and neosporin, extra ziplock bags, cash & id, KT Tape ( I will talk about this product more later) protein bars/energy gel blast and my frozen gatoraide. If the weather looks iffy, I always include a poncho. I used to hate to wear a pack, and I'd carry my water bottles with me instead. The pack frees up your hands and allows you to plan ahead!

My last step before I head out on a walk is to Vaseline my feet! Just like with applying glide, this will prevent your sock from causing friction and developing blisters! Plan to reapply later! I've had a few nasty blisters in my time and learned my lesson! 

I hope some of these tips will help you prepare for the next couple of months of warm weather training and lead up to your walk! Be Safe & Happy Walking!

1 comment:

  1. Justin was here........................