How Being Acclimated to the Heat Can Supercharge Your Runs

Running in the Sand
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Endurance running is hard, period.

Toss scorching-hot temperatures and stifling humidity into the mix, and runs become downright intolerable. But prepping the right way can make a world of a difference, according to a study from the University of Brighton.

In the study, researchers had nine amateur runners complete 5K time trials on a treadmill in 90° heat, then compared the effects of four methods:

  1. No preparation
  2. Short-term heat acclimatization
  3. Precooling
  4. A combination of the two (heat acclimatization)

In short, heat acclimatization is the process in which your body adapts to the stress of heat. Training and exposure can lessen the strain of high heat and humidity that would otherwise send your heart rate through the roof, and make your workout feel way harder. You can acclimate your body by wearing extra clothing while training, slowly transition into hot-weather workouts (at first, train early in the morning, then add a few in the heat), and hit the hot tub (for more tips, check out how to prepare for warm-weather races and outdoor workouts).

Precooling, on the other hand, involves lowering your body’s temperature before a workout. This can be through a multitude of strategies: drinking a frozen slushy; wearing wet, cold towels; even wearing a cooling vest.

Turns out athletes get a leg up on the competition when they don’t go through a deep freeze. Being acclimated to hot temps boosted running performance by almost 7% among athletes.

Remember that before you freeze your briefs…