Cool as a….zucchini? Heat Acclimatization and a Recipe

During my 62 mile ride this morning, my riding partner mentioned how hot it was. It was then that I realized I hadn’t even noticed the heat. Make no mistake, it was sweltering. It was so hot, that when I got back to my car 4 hours after we started, my coffee (which was in a plastic travel mug) was still warm. Of course, when you’re riding there’s always a slight breeze, not like running in the heat which just feels like unnecessary torture…

Still, I feel like I’m acclimating better than usual this year. Even running at 9:00 in the morning (that’s when my kids have swim practice, therefore when it’s easiest for me to run) hasn’t felt too awful. Generally speaking, heat acclimatization takes 5 – 10 runs of an hour or more in the heat, with cardiovascular adaptations starting within 3 – 5 days and sweating changes (your body starts to sweat sooner, and sweats more, to provide greater cooling) taking up to 10 days. For these reasons, you should reduce intensity in the first few days of training in the heat, and consume extra fluids and electrolytes.

But I really haven’t spent much time acclimating, given that the heat came on so suddenly, so I don’t really know why I’m not feeling the heat as much these days. The only thing that’s different is that I’ve been eating a LOT of zucchini. Maybe it has internal cooling powers? Maybe we should be saying “cool as a zucchini” instead of “cool as a cucumber”… yeah, maybe not. Anyway, the reason for all this zucchini eating is that my CSA has been delivering a lot of it. Just keeping up with the 5 pounds or more of zucchini, summer squash, and patty pan squash that arrives every Thursday is an effort. I came across this recipe last week, in Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers, so thought I’d share it. I didn’t have any arugula but I did have a lot of cucumber (thanks, CSA!) so I used that instead. I also can’t be bothered with the mandoline and just used a knife to cut the squash…and I didn’t do it lengthwise…such a rebel. 😉

Summer Squash Carpaccio with Arugula, Pecorino, and Almonds


1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 lb small zucchini (mix of green and yellow)
2.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced to a paste
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls of arugula (about 3 ounces)
Chunk of pecorino toscano, ricotta salata, or other medium-aged pecorino cheese, for shaving

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until golden brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

2. Trim the ends of the zucchini. With a mandoline or other manual vegetable slicer, shave the zucchini thinly lengthwise. Discard the first and last slices of each squash, which are mostly skin. Put the zucchini ribbons in a large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste. Add the dressing to the shaved zucchini and toss with your hands to coat evenly. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the zucchini to soften.

4. Add the arugula to the zucchini. With a  cheese plane or vegetable peeler, shave about 3 ounces of cheese into the bowl. Add several grinds of black pepper.  Top with the toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

I also came across a recipe for zucchini “pasta” on the blog Cook Eat Move, which I haven’t tried yet but thought I’d share! If you try it, let the author know what you think!


How do you acclimatize to the heat?

What are your favorite summer recipes?



  1. Sounds wonderful! wish I were there to enjoy with you
    Lisa McClellan recently posted..Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  2. I LOVE zucchini! I sure hope my plants produce tons. I will make your recipe and then lots of zucchini bread/muffins and the some zucchini relish. Delish! To get ready for summer running – I drink lots of water. I throw out the time and just go by feel (and bring water too!).
    Jen recently posted..Happy 4th of July, Virtual 5k, and Cottage FunMy Profile

    • Racingtales says:

      Ah, home grown – the best! I love zucchini bread too. You have a great philosophy for summer running – enjoy!

  3. What pretty presentation – I’m so excited about zucchini season!
    Charissa recently posted..Fourth of July DessertsMy Profile

  4. Suzanne Medairy says:

    Do you have any formulas on how much fluid should be consumed over “X” amount of time on these super hot days? And if its a bike ride versus a run, does that amount change?
    Also, I sweat A LOT. Even on the cooler days, I’m drenched from a run and on these hot days, I struggle to drink enough without feeling like my stomach is sloshing with fluid. Any tips on hydration without over-hydrating?

    Thanks for this great post!

    • Racingtales says:

      Hey Suzanne! The best way to work this out is to weigh yourself pre-workout and then immediately post-workout. However many ounces you lost is the ounces you need to consume, plus however much you drank during the workout. No different for bike and run, it’s all dependent on how much you’re losing. Sweating a lot is good because it’s your body’s way of cooling off. But, being a heavy sweater means you’re prone to losing more electrolytes, so make sure you’re drinking an electrolyte beverage. The key to not having a sloshy stomach (your body cannot absorb any more fluid, hence the sloshing) is to stay hydrated when you’re not working out. Going into a workout dehydrated is a recipe for disaster! So try to drink more before, and especially after. Hope this helps!

  5. I have no hopes of acclimating to the heat this year since I don’t want to run when it’s too hot while pregnant haha. I’d settle for getting used to running on the treadmill in this heat 🙂
    Kara recently posted..A Sense of WhimsyMy Profile

  6. Yum!

    I am hopeless in the heat – I just try to adjust the times I run (earlier :-)), and listen to my body.

    Loving the zucchini fetish! I might have to try that.
    Kate recently posted..CairnsMy Profile

  7. Our neighbors gave us a ton of zucchini and I’ve run out of ideas for it. So glad you posted this!!
    Kris @ recently posted..Short & Sweet Weekly RecapMy Profile

    • Racingtales says:

      Kris, I’ve been pawning mine off on my neighbors, too! Think I’m gonna make chocolate zucchini bread next…yum! Enjoy!

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