Most people (especially Texans and Okies) come to Colorado in the summer to beat the heat. However, if you decided to stop over in Boulder in the lovely month of July you might have assumed that you actually never left the blast furnace heat of the Texas Panhandle. Boulder gets HOT in the months of July and August and if we fall behind in moisture (like right now) it really compounds day after day. The lows don't get (as) low and the air gets warmer and warmer; dropping the humidity to the single digits. A lot of folks might believe that the single digit humiditymakes 95-104 degrees more tolerable. I would definitely agree as it relates to simply "hanging out." However, in the case of exercising, I find the lack of water vapor makes labored breathing feel as if someone is blowing a hair dryer into my mouth. Having said that, its been a while since I trained in South Texas and I'm sure I complained endlessly about the humidity in those days. When I trained through the summers in College Station, Texas I had to do ALL of my quality runs indoors on a treadmill and I started my weekday rides at 4:30-5:00 (or later) in the afternoon (and slept from 2-3:30 every day).
Ok, so I have complained for you all. Perhaps I can offer some tips on coping with it.
1. Training early. I don't particularly care for getting up early on a regular basis, but the quality of all my training is dramatically improved based on lower temperatures. Keep in mind that training when it is warm forces blood to the surface of your skin and away from the muscles. Less blood to the muscles equates to less training you successfully accomplish.
2. Hydration. You cannot expect to train with the same amount of fluids that you consume in temperate climates. I start my long ride with 3-4 bottles on me (two in cages; one or two in jersey) and refill at 2 hours, and 3.25 hours (during a 4.5-5 hour ride). There is nothing gained by riding "longer" segments if it means dehydration. If you fall behind with your fluids you will lose the session. You don't have to hang out just because you stop. Just hope off, refill you bottles (or buy some sports drink), and take off. It can be done in less than five minutes both times.
3. Lowering you Core Temperature after training. After doing long, challenging sessions in the heat I often find myself kicking it on the couch feeling uncomfortably warm. This is because of the training heat from the day and my super-charged metabolism. There was a great article on Velonews during the tour that demonstrated how Garmin-Chipotle was addressing this very issue. You can read it here. What I personally do is place cooling/ice packs on my neck as well as holding them in my hands for 5-10 minutes at a time. After 5-10 minutes I feel much better and I repeat the process every 45 minutes or so (as needed).
4. Indoor Training."I thought indoor training was only for the winter?" Well, in some parts of the country/world that might be the case, but in warm climates it makes plenty of sense to crank along inside air conditioned workout studios. Most gyms keep their cardio areas around 68-70 degrees and this can make a world of difference for your key sessions. Treadmill running might not be the same as running outdoors, but slowing down for the sake of heat doesn't do much good either.
5. Plan your season accordingly. If you live in a place that has excessive heat at some point in the year then take that into consideration when planning for key races. Extreme heat will compromise some portion of you training (just as winters do) so keep that in mind. The more temperate the weather, the more quality training you can achieve. The better the training, the better the race.