Training in the heat can be both good and bad. When it goes bad it can really go bad. During my Ironman Texas training days I would get on my trainer wearing 5 or 6 layers of clothing plus a heavy sweatshirt. I wanted to mimic the heat that I would face in Texas in May. I not only got on my trainer in that clothing, but I would also run in that amount clothing. I am a sweater to begin with but this added that extra heat so that I could test my sweat rate loss and what I needed to do to replace my liquid loss.
Last weekend during the Triathlon training camp Jeff and I were talking about our sweat rate losses and what had happened to him the prior week. Jeff had gotten dehydrated on a run and had to slow down his training in a big block and while it will not cost him anything it could have been a lot worse. One thing I noticed when I was training down in Houston was how the humidity had such a huge effect on my performance. In Dallas it is hot, around 105* hot, but in Houston it is not ‘only’ 98* but the humidity was 100% and that had a different effect on me. I noticed the wear this caused on my legs when I went out for my ride on Monday and was still achy in my legs.
Today I read an article on Competitor.com titled Thrive In The Heat by Scott Fliegelman. It is an interesting article as it points out what to do during training and what to do during racing. Here are the tips about training in the heat:
Quick tips: training
- To better simulate humidity on the bike, set up your trainer in the laundry room as you dry a load of wet clothes. –> This was my thought when I was on the trainer in my garage with all the doors closed and creating humidity with heat coming off my body in a ‘cold’ garage.
- Plan to add sodium during practice sessions in the heat to aid fluid absorption. Shoot for 200mg per 8 oz of fluid, and then modify until you find the rate that makes you feel the best and results in minimal fluid weight loss measured by the post-workout scale. –> Using the Herbalife24 Prolong (500mg sodium per serving) and EFS Liquid Shot (400mg sodium per serving) my sodium intake was fine and never really a need for salt tabs during training. I also did not add any extra salt to my food.
- 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 (please keep your shorts and sports bra on when weighing yourself in the parking lot). –> Just weigh myself in my house. Today’s 2h15m run resulted in an 8 lb weight loss and I drank 20 oz of liquid which means it would have been over 9 lbs of weight loss without the intake.
- Try to align key race rehearsal workouts with especially hot and humid days whenever possible.
Quick tips: Racing
- Leave the aero helmet at home. Enjoy the better airflow of your road helmet. At aid stations, take an extra water bottle to pour over your head. –> Flying in the face of this thought is Craig Alexander’s Kona race last year. Wearing an aero helmet for the first time he beat his previous best bike time by 13 minutes. The key was drinking on a set schedule and allowed him to hydrate without any issues.
- Race in low-cut socks. High-cut socks can drastically reduce heat dissipation and possibly lead to blisters. –> This leads me to the question of whether or not to wear compression socks/sleeves on my calves. I have not done it in training or in a race as I’m not convinced of the benefits of using them during a race. Do you use them and if so have you worn socks or sleeves? Ironman Texas was the first time I wore socks at all. I have an issue with the squishy sound I would hear when pee and water would get soaked up by the socks.
- Stay ahead of your fluid needs. If you feel thirsty, you waited too long to drink. –> My watch beeps every 15 minutes and that is when I know it is time to drink. This is not a question of should I, but when can I? It is like Pavlov’s dog. The beep sound is made and I take a swig. Being able to pee last weekend while on the bike was a sure sign that I was properly hydrated.
- Visors work better than hats for shedding heat. –> I have worn both and I will say that I feel much better with a visor. The water gets onto your head and soaked up in your hair and not the hat is the one thing I noticed right away.
I had read an article a while back that the winner of Ironman Texas (Eneko Lllanos) trained for the race by putting a large amount of wet clothes in his dryer and turned it on and rode his bike on the trainer as well as run on his treadmill. Now if I only had a laundry room as big as my house I would do this as well.