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Tips to safely train in elevated temperatures

Let’s face it – this time of year in Charleston is downright hot. When you’re out training, it is important to take the proper precautions to keep yourself safe and to pay attention to the warning signs of heat exhaustion. MUSC Wellness Center director of group exercise and science-based programming, James Johnson, has some tips to help you as you train for LOWVELO in the heat.

Remember: It takes time

Research performed at the U.S. Olympic Center suggests it takes at least 14 days of training at expected conditions for the body to progressively compensate for the negative effects of elevated temperatures. So, be patient!

Create a hydration plan

We all know training in elevated temperatures will cause profuse sweating leading to progressive dehydration. This can cause disruption of both performance and health. Your hydration plan should include fluid intake before, during and after you train. In hot weather, some of your fluids should contain electrolytes, carbohydrates and even a bit of protein to help the recovery process.

Pre-cooling strategy

Whenever possible perform warmup, stretching and other prep work in the shade. Use of cold towels, ice vest, hats, fans and ingesting ice chips can help keep your internal body temperature lower. Walking, running or riding through water streams or pouring water over your head, neck, shoulders and back is very helping during training.

Know the warning signs

Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Recognizing and implementing cooling and rehydration quickly will lead to better outcomes. Be mindful and look for the following symptoms:

  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Dizziness and/or confusion
  • Clammy skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Flushed complexion
  • Strong, rapid pulse
graphic with 4 tips - training takes time, create a hydration plan, pre-cooling strategy, know the warning signs

What to do if you experience heat exhaustion on ride day

On ride day, if you suffer from heat exhaustion or experience any medical issues, our first aid team will be there to assist. Tents will be set up at venues and Support and Gear (SAG) vehicles will patrol the route to provide immediate first aid assistance. These volunteers will offer basic first aid only. Any situation requiring greater attention will be treated at the nearest medical facility via ambulance. While riding, please carry all your prescription medications and your health insurance card in your jersey/shirt or inside a small bike bag attached to your bike. The first aid staff will have no I.V. solutions or prescription medications. If you are in need of medical assistance while on the route, please call the Medical Director at the Rider Help Line which will be printed on your rider wristband. In the case of an emergency, please call 911 first, then the Rider Help Line so LOWVELO officials can track the incident and assist as necessary. 

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