By HRT Coach Alex VanderLinden
With the Ontario heat and humidity turned up here are a few tips to keep you performing at your best in training and racing.
1. Acclimate – We have all heard the saying “nothing new on race day,” and this goes for weather conditions as well. If you are preparing for a hot destination race early in the season or preparing for the mid-summer heat wave be sure to train in similar conditions before hand. Riding on the trainer or running on a treadmill indoors can allow you to crank the temperatures up. If those are not available wearing extra clothing to increase core temperature will have a similar effect. If the heat has already hit train outside in it. If you are doing a full-distance race and will be running a marathon at the hottest time of day do some of your training runs in the afternoon instead of the early morning when temperatures are cooler.
2. Fluids – Fluids and nutrition can make or break your race or training, especially when going longer distance. Hydrate early and often! Hydrating starts before you head out the door for the day, and do not let yourself fall behind. I will often hear athletes say they don’t drink much at the start of the long ride, but once you fall behind it is hard to catch up. The research on just how much to drink is controversial, but with an attention to detail during training and talking with your coach you can derive a strategy that will work for you. If you are training more than once a day make sure to replace lost fluids between workouts or you will be continuously digging a deeper hole. When riding outside we often don’t realize just how much we sweat as the wind is drying you and keeping you cooler.
3. Nutrition – The body’s number one way to cool itself is via sweating, and when we are sweating electrolytes are lost. Think about increasing your salt intake during hot workouts and races to replace the extra electrolytes you are loosing.
4. Cooling yourself – Cooling yourself with ice, water, sponges, etc will help in some conditions, as the water will evaporate off your skin in the same way sweat will. Above certain temperatures dumping water on yourself won’t help because the heat loss via evaporation isn’t happening fast enough, this is really when you want ice to put in your clothes or a hat to help cool yourself
5. Adjust Pace – The first couple of workouts you do in hotter temperatures you will want to adjust your paces on the bike and run. The faster you go the more heat you are creating (on the flip side if you are ever cold don’t coast keep riding). Because you are producing more heat at higher speeds your body will actually be working harder than if the temperatures outside were cooler. Slow down a bit, and after about 2 weeks training in the heat your body will be more prepared to go faster in the warmer temperatures.
Extreme weather is just another part of triathlon that we must train for. Whether it is heat, cold, rain, or snow you must practice just like swimming, cycling, and running. There are very few surprises on race day, and paying attention to even the smallest of details will help you conquer your goals.