Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some like it hot!

It’s been hot. Really hot. Historically I’ve really suffered in the heat, but it hasn’t been much of a problem for me lately and I think I know the secret to beating the heat. Spend lots of time in it! We don’t use air conditioning at home or in the car and I wear a long sleeved shirt to work since there is air conditioning there. I also spend plenty of time outside in addition to the time I spend training. Last  weekend I spent a couple hours both days planting about 90 plants into a rain garden in the blistering heat. I sure sweated a lot, but wasn’t all that bothered otherwise. This morning I did some running intervals and felt great and ran plenty fast. I haven’t had any trouble sleeping on these sticky nights either. I think it’s not that different than, say, altitude training. The longer you spend at altitude, the more your body adjusts and the easier it is to handle. Going without air conditioning can take some getting used to, but not that long and it sure makes training in summer a lot easier. Not to mention the cost savings!

The only negative side effect that I think is attributable to the heat is a little hyponatremia (low sodium) which gives me muscle cramps and minor heart arrhythmia. I had a more pronounced case of it last winter and realized that it must be because I don’t eat processed foods and so don’t get that much salt in my diet. I started adding a little salt and it cleared up. I’ve been noticing it a bit again so I must be sweating more than usual and losing more sodium. I’m now experimenting with some electrolyte tablets that you add to your water bottle to see if that helps. If it does, I think I’ll mix up my own with a little salt and salt-alternative for some added potassium as well (which is usually made from potassium bicarbonate and potassium bitartrate). I may also use some sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). We’ll see how it goes. If the heat subsides it may be a non-issue very soon anyway. Until then, bring it on!