It’s officially summer and the temperatures are reaching uncomfortable highs across the UAE and GCC. But, if done smart, you do not have to give up your training regime through the summer.
Although, through the summer we all want to hibernate indoors until the cooler weather rears its head through the humidity, if you stick to these simple tips, cycling this summer could become beneficial.
1. Keep hydrated
This is probably the most important tip to follow. With losing more liquids through sweat during summer, it is not wise to wait until you are thirsty to drink water, as this is a sign that you are more than half way to being dehydrated.
Hydration does not start on the ride; it starts at least 48 – 72 hours before your cycle. Hydration does not have to be just drinking the average of 8 glasses of water a day; eat watery fruits and vegetable like grapes and watermelon. On the day of your ride, you need to gauge how long your ride is going to be, and plan you hydration accordingly. Try to drink at least 750ml of water per hour on the bike, bit rather than gulping when you are thirsty or at strategic points, sip your water throughout the ride at regular intervals (preferably every 15 to 20 minutes), giving your body a steady flow of liquid. If you are planning a long cycle, electrolytes on your ride are key to keeping hydrated, where sodium helps your body hold onto the fluid you are consuming, so be sure to have some SiS Electrolyte or SiSi Hydro in your water bottle on your next ride. A Carbohydrate based mix, like SiS Energy or SiS Hydro for your water is also a good idea, where this does not only increase energy levels, but replaces the nutrients that you lose through your sweat.
Post ride recovery is just as important for your hydration, where drinking a protein based recovery drink, like SiS Rego Rapid Recovery will rehydrate you faster than just drinking water. Protein carries water with it as it travels between your muscles.
2. Eat while you ride
As important as it is to hydrate, remember to nibble some eats on your ride like a SiS Energy bar. Cycling in the heat exerts more energy than normal, so by not snacking on your ride will lead you to bonk.
3. Dress accordingly
There is an array of technical clothing on the market nowadays, where clothing offers ample ventilation, mesh panels, full-length zips and sweat wicking properties. Lightweight clothing will aid in keeping you cool on the cycle and clothing like Louis Garneau Arm Coolers that have UV-F protection to deflect sun rays. Keeping the sun off of your head, thin socks and well vented shoes will also make all the difference in maintaining core temperature. A good pair of sunglasses are also a good idea. Sunlight can be tiring on the eyes and UV rays, with prolonged exposure can damage your eyes.
4. Protect against the sun
In conjunction with protective clothing, exposed skin should be protected from the sun too. Sun burn does not only fry your skin, but also contributes to fatigue and increases your need for fluid intake.
5. Rather cycle in the evening or early morning
The optimal option is to cycle during the cooler times of the day. Although there is still humidity in the evenings and mornings, the temperatures are still lower than during the day, making it for a more comfortable cycle.
6. Don’t overdo it
The harder and faster you cycle in the heat; the harder the affects on your body. Try keep a steady pace that allows you to expend as little energy as possible.
7. Acclimatize to the conditions
Don’t let your first cycle in the heat be an all or nothing ride. You need to ease into your summer training by getting accustomed to the weather with short, slow rides. Only once you are used to the heat, can you start planning to increase your intensity and distance.
Hand in hand with acclimatizing to the weather, plan your rides. Plan how long you intend to be out for, as you will then need to plan your hydration and nutrition accordingly. Also, try plan your route where you are able to make stops in the shade or at watering holes.
Consuming a lot of carbohydrates and proteins after a ride will help you with recovering. If you are unable to have a full meal, SiS Rapid Rego Recovery within the first half an hour after your ride will at least carry you through until you are able to eat.
And most importantly, Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!