Finally, in the depths of July, the sun decided to grace us with its presence. As is typical in London during the summer, suddenly every green space/sidewalk/pub is filled with shirtless strangers trying to soak up the much Vit D as possible & get the elusive English tan in the generally fleeting time we have with the sun. It looks like maybe however, it may stick around for a little while and as such it’s a prime opportunity to take your training outdoors and relish in the heatwave!
Growing up in the sun drenched, far away Australian beaches, I luckily have a good few tricks of how to build your relationship with the sunshine. Keeping it safe and staying healthy with the change of weather, to make sure you make the most of your training & don’t suffer from heatstroke, sunburn or any other nasties!
Slip, Slop, Slap
Slip on a T-shirt,
Slop on some sunscreen,
Slap on a hat!
(I also think they had added on slide on some sunglasses and seek the shade recently too!)
This clever ad campaign - check it out- has been thrown to Aussies since the minute we can walk and rightly so; it teaches the importance of proper sun protection to keep your body cool & control thermo-regulation, avoid sunburn & degeneration of your precious skin and importantly to educate on prevention of skin cancers & melanomas.
The best cure is prevention and whilst the harsh rays of the sun seem luxurious to soak up, we have all been there with serious red hot sunburn and it’s not so worth it the next day, or further down line if anything nasty develops! So make sure you stay covered up – light, sweat-wicking layers are perfect for training if you may be outdoors for an extended period of time.
Use a good quality, high SPF sunscreen. If you are going to be sweating look for something water resistant – I currently am loving the Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh, an invisible cooling sun spray that protects against UVA & UVB rays for the body. For my face, I was once recommended the Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear SPF 30+ by my dermatologist and have stuck with it since. I also do love the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Face, as it has a lightweight, naked skin feel! Additionally, a good quality tinted moisturizer, primer or foundation should have SPF in the formula so opt for one you are comfortable with for your skin - but make sure you do - every, damn, day!
Throw on your hat and shades – if you are heading out for a run or outdoor training session make sure you throw a hat on over the top of your ponytail to help protect the skin on your face- no one wants those premature wrinkles!! The added bonus here is that it will hide your undoubtedly extra sweaty hair!
I know, I know, it is preached at us all the time, but it really is SO important & even more so when the temperature gauge shoots up. You simply cannot perform at your best, physically & mentally, if you do not have sufficient levels of hydration. In short – you will not make those gains!
Always aim for at least 2L a day, but when its heating up & you are working out you need to increase this to accommodate the increased level of internal temperature of the core to help cool down & to additionally replenish lost fluids due to sweat!
Aim to keep the fluids up throughout the day and steadying replenish during & after your sessions – increasing your intake to 3L.
Again this may be super obvious, but be sensible and pick your times to train outdoors. Early mornings & dusk are prime times to get outside and get moving so as to avoid the mid-day peak heat.
If possible, also do look for some shadier areas for protection even as the sun begins to creep in.
You want to try and keep your body temperature regulated, so a proper warm up and importantly, cool down are essential, and a shorter workout is going to be effective.
Don’t try to push over the 45minute limit, keep it short & sweet, you will be sweating enough I’m sure!!
Know your limits
In a goal driven, instant result based society, we feel like we need to push beyond our limits in order to see our reward right away. However this right now, is the time to know your limits and stick to them!
A change in temperature can throw your body around and knock you a little, so its not the right circumstances to aim to beat your PB’s or clock a few extra miles. In fact, it could just do you more harm than good in the long term.
So stick to working safe & well outdoors, focusing on enjoying your workouts and the weather!
Mix it Up
Our bodies are so intrinsically intelligent that they adapt to routine quickly, making regular workout enthusiasts reach plateaus if they don’t change their training systems and workouts. The change in weather is a good chance for you to mix it up and get out of your own way to try something new.
So you like going for endurance based long runs? Well in this heat, why not head to the park early in the morning a try a quick but effective sprint session instead.
You only like the squat rack and dumbells in your gym? Why not try an outdoor circuit focusing on high reps and endurance but using only your body weight instead?
Aim to make the most of a change in routine to give something new a go. There are plenty of pop up outdoor classes happening across the city right now – why not try some Pilates or Yoga in the park to uplift your soul? I know there's a few running around Islington & Highbury here!
In the end a little change, never hurt no body (if you stick to the above tips as well of course!)
So team, get out there and enjoy our heatwave- but remember, act smart & safe so you can get all of your sunshine satisfaction!!