The heat has been unbearable on the East Coast: high humidity along with high temps are making it unpleasant to be outside from morning until night. I went out for a 17-mile bike/2-mile run yesterday morning at 5:45 a.m. thinking that I'll beat the heat. Wrong. By the end of 17 miles, I was saying to myself, "You've got to do the run, Valerie. This is probably the last time you can do the 17-mile bike along with a run before the race." But my body was telling me something else. The heat was already unbearable at 6:45 a.m. by the time I finished biking and I had traces of a headache—despite chugging from my water bottle regularly. So I went home. Thankfully I did. I felt like I was going to throw up, along with a throbbing headache and tingling fingers.
And I got to thinking too: if the heat is like this for next week's tri, I won't push myself to go faster or even try to run the 5K part (I may just walk it). My body comes first—before any personal goals or expectations. The same goes for you too: know your body and its limits, whether you're in the gym, exercising outdoors, or even eating the wrong foods. Our bodies are pretty darn smart and will start sending out warning signals; listen to them and you won't go wrong.
Oh, and the other thing I learned: Plain old H20 doesn't cut it in this heat. Next time, I'm going to fill the water bottles on my bike with a sports drink, which really does help replenish the electrolytes you lose when you're sweating (important for keeping your muscles working like they should) and helps your body rehydrate better.