Training in extreme conditions

One of the better things about living in Britain is that, generally, it is safe to assume that we aren’t going to experience too many extreme forms of weather. We are away from all those hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, you name it. All that might be true but it doesn’t stop the physical environment having an impact on how, and where, we decide to workout. 

Whether you are up in the Scottish Highlands experiencing blisteringly high wind speeds, or further down the Isles where they are expecting a second heatwave in a month, we all have aspects of the weather that we need to consider. Being prepared for whatever the weather has to throw at you will put you in  a far greater position and increase the likelihood of you being able to achieve all of your physical goals.

So first, the heat. Usually we would probably be able to skim over this without much consideration but already this summer we have been experiencing some unexpectedly high temperatures. Even if you train solely in a gym, and therefore rarely exposed to the elements, high outdoor temperatures will have an impact. When it comes to training in high temperatures the thing you need to remember is hydration. It is so easy to get wrapped up in a workout outdoors, or in the gym, and forget to take on plenty of fluids.

Dehydration is obviously far more of a possibility when temperatures are high and you are sweating more. You also need to consider the fact hat you are losing electrolytes at a much faster rate when it is hotter too. So you have two choices. You either add more electrolytes into your food diet or consider drinking a sports drink designed to offer those vitamins and minerals that you might be running low on.

The other extreme to consider is training in cold conditions. Again, training indoors alone will shelter you from the cold but it will still have an effect inside the gym. I’m sure you have heard the comparison between our muscles and Blu-Tack. Whilst slightly clichéd, the general idea is still right. Just like the Blu-Tack, if our muscles get too cold then when they are subjected to pressure they will be more likely to falter. So the key is to warm up properly. I’m sure a lot of us are guilty of jumping into an exercise a bit too quickly before our muscles were properly warm. If that applies to you then be aware that as risky as that is in warm weather, it is even more risky when it is colder.

Then there are wet and windy conditions and these apply almost exclusively to those of us who incorporate outdoor workouts into our regime, in whatever capacity. Runners and cyclists will be particularly aware of how the rain and the wind can effect a good workout and they will be even more aware of what precautions need to be taken. The main thing you need to focus on is wearing the right clothes. Working out in poor weather conditions will encourage you to give up sooner and you don’t want to see your workouts cut short. One way to fight discouragement is to reduce the amount that those conditions are affecting you. So if it is blowy, wear a windproof pullover and if the ground is wet, make sure you have the right footwear on your feet. The last thing you need is an excuse to give up.

Like I say, fortunately in this country we don’t have to deal with extreme weather conditions too often but you still want to be prepared for when they do occur. The most important thing is your safety, of course. If the weather makes it impossible to conduct the workout that you want then try to find an alternative that the elements have less of an impact on. But a minor downpour, or a blustery wind, shouldn’t stop you from completing your workout to the best of your ability!

Ollie Lawrence
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