Below you will find an excerpt from my new book, Run. Journey. Become – the 3100-Mile footrace of a lifetime. Hopefully these solutions, discovered in practice, will help you avoid severe “side effects” in training and competing in hot weather.
During 3100-Mile Races I face the challenge of running in extreme weather: hot and humid. High humidity makes physical activity particularly difficult. The fact is that the body tries to reduce the temperature during exercise by sweating. But the higher the humidity, the harder it to “evaporate” the body heat. There comes a time when, due to the high humidity, the cooling system of the body simply breaks down: we cannot maintain a comfortable body temperature and begin to overheat.
My experience tells me that you can take a number of measures, which I call “anti-heat pill,” in order to maintain the body’s performance in hot and humid weather. This does not make the running easier; it’s still extremely difficult to run when the temperature is 36C and the humidity is 90%. But to extend the running and avoid heatstroke is possible.
First, common sense suggests that we protect ourselves from the sun as much as possible and reduce the consumption of energy that our body needs to fight against it. This is not accomplished with just a cap and a t-shirt: we need to choose a material with UV protec- tion. The higher the UV index, the better. Not less than 30. UV material with UV protection can be of different types: just covered with a special chemical composition or with special fibers. Products made with the latter are more expensive, but more durable. In any case, eventually the ability to withstand ultraviolet rays reduces over time, and you need to buy new clothes. Earlier, I wrote about the solution in the form of Solumbra costumes. They perfectly solve the problem of protecting the body from UV rays, and also they have great ventilation and breathability. In the last few years I also wear the Better Than Naked series of t-shirts by North Face. Very thin, light- weight and breathable. And with UV protection.
It helps to apply sunscreen, also with UV protection of not less than 30, on exposed skin – face, neck, hands and feet. Sunglasses with the same UV protection, and not just plastic lenses, are also very helpful.
Now, about nutrition and supplements: In general, the nutrition strategy in the heat is to minimise foods that require strong digestion, such as proteins. Strong digestion means an excess of acidity in the body. Salads, fruit and vegetables on those days will be a good help. I also wrote about coconut oil, MCT, which is perceived as carbohydrate by the body and remarkably assimilated, supplying the body with fuel, as a real fat. In the long races, such as the 3100-Mile, with a clearly expressed aerobic regimen, the main fuel is fat.
With drinks, the situation is more interesting. Just to drink plenty of water, as it turns out, does not solve the problem. The problem is that this water needs to be assimilated and delivered to the cells of the body. Coconut water does not solve the problem either. Although if you get pure raw coconut water, without preservatives, additives and impurities, it may help.
There are two solutions in my arsenal: Microhydrin (aka Mega Hydrate) and ionized water.
The first additive allows to transport the water into the cells themselves, but is also a powerful antioxidant. The inventor was Patrick Flanagan, who researched various places on earth where life expectancy rose past 100 years. Despite the difference in culture and food, there was one anomaly that united these centenarians: water with a special feature – a high electrical potential. The story of Flanagan’s invention is quite an interesting – well worth reading about. To make the story short: Flanagan decided to recreate this living water at home. Thus Mega Hydrate was born, which allows water to be absorbed and effectively nourish the cells of our body. Otherwise, water can just accumulate in the stomach and not actually reach the cells.
Ionized water also possesses such properties – and more. I will tell later about it.
It is also known that in hot weather the body needs an extra supply of potassium and sodium. During the Race, we usually use HeatGuard salt tablets with these micronutrients, which we take every 2-3 hours in hot weather. A Japanese salt called Regidron also works remarkably well. Electrolyte Hydrator Natural Blend by Vega Sport works well, too.
This, briefly, is how I cope with the heat and humidity. Again, extreme conditions do not become comfortable. But you can continue to run without severe side effects in the form of fainting, dehydration and overheating.