Sweating it out in the desert

It’s been a case of back to Qatar with a bump…well more of a sweaty puddle really.

While I’ve been away, the temperature has racked up and the dreaded humidity has arrived. Added together they make for pretty rubbish running, not that I’ve been doing any just recently. I’m on recovery for a few weeks following Ultra Sierra Nevada to give chance for my rattled joints to settle back down.

It's that time of year again when dusty, gives way to sweaty!

It’s that time of year again when dusty, gives way to sweaty!

I’m a big believer in active recovery. My body was designed to move, and if I sit still and veg for more than a couple of days stuff starts to fall apart. My back namely. So I’ve been implementing a moderate regime of walking of an evening. This also serves to preserve any heat adaptations I’ve accumulated. I’m hoping this will also help to ease me back in more readily when I start running again. (Treadmills are a no go for me, so there’s no chance of training indoors.)

As the desert is out of bounds at the moment due to the extreme heat – been there, done that on my own, and nearly didn’t survive – I’ve been poddling around the city trying to catch the slightest air movement. The high humidity really is the challenge and it’s amazing our ability to literally boil-in-the-bag at this time of the year.

I know there’s plenty of research going on at the moment right here in Qatar into the effects of heat stress during exercise on the body, so it’ll be really interesting to see the results and how we can use these to improve training methods.

According to Noakes' research we should be at a standstill with temps of 35C+

According to Noakes’ research we should be at a standstill with temps of 35C+

It’s been a little while since Dr Tim Noakes published his Central Governor Model which reckons that your brain will make changes to slow you down and stop you overcooking all on its own. That research only went up to 29C…our temps in Qatar won’t get that LOW at any time of day or night until October…so we’re sort of into unchartered territory  and it really is a case of steady, steady or risk succumbing to heat exhaustion on every outing.

Effective training in the heat

  1. I’m now training to time. Rather than set a distance to reach; I’ll aim to spend X amount of time outside in the heat. This means there’s no pressure to reach a certain distance target and I can just go as far as the weather allows me to on that day.
  2.  For me it’s all about being flexible; if there’s literally not a breath of air movement and I’m feeling the effects of the heat within 2km, then I can slow the pace (walk even) and back off. As long as there’s consistency to my training, then I can still maintain a level of endurance capacity.
  3. I’m creative with my speed work. The spin bike can be a useful way to the heart rate up and cadence high, nice and cool while indoors.
  4. It’s time to try new things. The summer is a great time to try new classes at the gym which build strength and endurance.

We’ve also been busy building Ultra Trail Spain running holidays online. It’s a hectic time, but we’re looking forward to welcoming you all to Spain shortly.

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