Monday, February 1, 2016

"Winter" Training in Summer

by Nick Mathers

If you're living in one of the "15 states too hot for humans" (according to a recent CNN article), you may be struggling with trying to train while simultaneously trying not to have your internal organs fail.

That gets even harder if you're trying to build yourself up for an A race taking place during or just after the summer. If that's the case, this year is probably too late to make a change, but you may want to consider swapping your season goals in 2012. And by "swapping goals," I mean move your "winter" training to the summer: train lighter, stay indoors and focus on something new. There are plenty of races to choose in May and October in the U.S., and even more if you're willing to travel to another country.

I once made the mistake of training for IMLP while living in West Texas (in case you weren't aware, it's hot here: we just hit some record for most 100+ degree days in a year). Now, I don't even consider big events between July and September. While most of my local competitors all gear up and ride big/hard in miserable conditions right now, I have a more relaxed approach and I'm still fit enough to be competitive on the local summer racing scene.

That doesn't mean I'm taking it easy, it just means I'm not stacking the deck against me when it comes to training consistency. It's hard enough doing anything in 100 degree heat once, why try to put in big days in those conditions back to back?

This advice is nothing new for readers of Endurance Corner. But for some reason so many people focus on finding the "right" qualifying race that suits their strengths that they forget the terrain or conditions on race day don't matter if you weren't able to put in the work leading up to the race.

I recognize it's hot pretty much anywhere in North America at this point of the year, but if you've been dealing with scorching temperatures for months now, it may be worth switching your seasons around. This is the time to:

Swim lots. It's wet.

Get to the gym. It's air-conditioned.

Make friends with your trainer. A tip: I used to hate riding my bike on the trainer, then I realized I just don't like riding indoors. I put my trainer on the back patio and ride early. Between the natural breeze, the quiet neighborhood and the early morning wildlife going about its business, the ride goes by much faster.

Of course, if you qualify for one of those big events in September or October, you'll need to change your training plans around again, but worry about qualifying first.

Nick is Endurance Corner’s content editor. You can contact him via e-mail or follow him on Twitter @nick_mathers.

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