How to run in extreme heat? Ask “Son of the Desert”

This past weekend, I made the classic summer running mistake. I hit the mute button. I really wanted another hour of sleep, and the heat couldn’t really get any worse a little later, right?

As I tumbled out of that comfy bed and sweet, sweet air conditioning, a wave of regret, heat, and the steaming humidity of my glasses washed over me. I knew it was coming. My long run was more like a long slog.

When you have to run out the door and the temperature is high, no matter how early you wake up, how can you exercise successfully? Of course I know the basic tips. But how do extreme athletes excel in such conditions?

For advice, I spoke to Max Calderan, whose Instagram account is called “Son of the Desert.” Calderán, a 55-year-old desert explorer — who described himself as a 25-year-old “who spent too much time in the sun” — has spent much of his life training for extended hikes in some of the world’s most extreme climates. In February 2020, he crossed the Rub al-Khali desert in the Arabian Peninsula, about 700 miles in temperatures above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Surely he will be able to tell me how to train better in the heat.

“The key word here is deprivation,” he began. oh boy I asked him to leave the suggestions behind. We’re talking about running in the heat, I explained, not necessarily hundreds of miles through untouched wilderness.

Here are some of his top tips for more average athletes:

This interview has been condensed and edited.

on time: The best thing you can do is to start physical activity early in the morning or late in the evening. If you spend the whole day in an air-conditioned office and then run around in hot temperatures, you’re sure to feel tired! Start adapting. Turn off the AC in the car or turn off the AC only on your feet and not directly on your face.

About hydration: Compare what your body needs. The best energy drink is water with lemon juice and a small amount of salt. Drink this throughout the day. Drink small amounts of water frequently, every 15 minutes or 30 minutes.

on clothes: It seems strange, but start running and exercising while wearing clothes that cover your entire body. Start trying to feel the difference between running in shorts and a T-shirt versus long pants and a long-sleeved T-shirt. Of course, synthetic material. The more air there is between your body and the outside environment, the less hot air you feel.

on shoes: If you run a lot in the heat, you may want to buy a shoe that’s one size larger than you normally wear. In hot temperatures, your feet may begin to expand.

On having an athlete’s mentality: You have to think like an athlete. You are not a runner and then a regular person because you work in an office or something. You’re a runner 24 hours a day, so you need to eat, drink and think like an athlete.

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