Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Check out these tips from Head Coach Scott Fliegelman for successful training and racing in the heat this summer..
Excerpted from the July, 2012 Triathlete Magazine article...
Staying Cool in the Heat This Summer
It’s mid-summer fellow athletes, and the heat is on! But that doesn’t mean you need to limit your training to 5 am sessions and avoid racing again until autumn. Here are some proven tips for surviving and thriving as the temps and humidity soar.
Start Right Away
Daily diet is one area most overlooked when aiming to better cope with heat during training and racing. Registered Dietician and multisport athlete Megan Forbes suggests increasing water based foods such as fresh fruit rather than dried, oatmeal rather than granola, veggies of all kinds as tolerated, and cooked ones are better than raw for retaining water… a good thing in this case. Forbes also suggests adding salt to your food on days when you sweat heavily, but refrain from doing so when sweat loss is minimal.
If you live in a cooler climate, but plan to race in hot or humid conditions, then include training days with an extra layer of clothing to increase sweat rate and create the need for more aggressive fluid and electrolyte replacement. Plan to weigh yourself without clothing before your workout, and then again when you return. Aim for a fluid replenishment plan that produces no greater than 2% loss of body weight. While there is some debate regarding acceptable levels of fluid weight loss during exercise, by doing this task frequently you will find your own personal level where you feel and perform the best.
Pro Tip- To better simulate humidity on the bike, throw a load of wet towels in the dryer and set up your trainer in the laundry room.
Plan to add sodium during practice sessions in the heat in order to aid fluid absorption. Shoot for 200 Mg per 8 oz. of fluid, and then modify up/ down until you find the rate that makes you feel the best and results in minimal fluid weight loss measured by the post-workout scale.
Pro Tip- Keep an inexpensive scale in your car so that you’ll have the tools you need for pre and post workout weigh-ins when training away from home, but keep your shorts and jog bra on when weighing yourself in the parking lot:)
Try to align key race rehearsal workouts with especially hot and humid days whenever possible.
Dr. Jeremy Rodgers, Medical Staff Director for Rocky Mt. Ironman events, advises arriving at the race site up to a week early if possible, especially if coming from a climate with drastically lower heat indexes.
Forbes suggests adding salt to your meals or using a salt supplement in the day or two before the race in order to aid in pre-hydration. “This will help hold all the water the athlete drinks and will make them a little "full", but these reserves will quickly diminish once racing starts and they'll be glad they were there”, she adds.
Dr. Rodgers offers these race day tips in order to help avoid a visit to the med tent:
- · Race in low cut socks, as the high cut ones can drastically reduce heat dissipation possibly leading to blisters.
- · Stay ahead of your fluid needs… if you feel thirsty it’s too late
- · Visors work better than hats for shedding heat
The single best thing you can do to race successfully in the heat is to lower your time-based goals to more accurately reflect the conditions of the day. Just as you would do in the wind, plan to be slower at your race effort vs. your speed at that same effort in cooler conditions. Pay little attention to mph on the bike or pace on the run and listen to your ‘perceived effort’ or heart rate monitor to let you know that you are indeed going hard and metering out your energy appropriately. The good news is that just about everyone else in the field will be slower as well:)