Training In The Heat


Source: HA Health

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 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.

How Do You Train For The Heat?

Do You Do Sweat Rate Loss Tests?

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  1. Jeff Irvin says:

    The heat this time of year can be extremely dangerous, as I found out first hand a couple weeks ago. And with record temps encompassing most of the US right now we all need to be diligent in our efforts to stay safe. The article should be titled, “Survive in the Heat” because the term “Thrive” is not realistic!

    A couple of things the article did not mention was the importance of slowing down during training and taking in solid (not only liquid) calories on longer efforts. They made reference to slowing down during a race but this is just as important during training. The heat can affect our performance from workout to workout as the added stress makes it more difficult to recovery completely. Slow down, and if you are feeling the added heat stress from multiple outdoor workouts head indoors to the treadmill or trainer. By most peoples standards (ie: non-Olympians) I am a fast runner and the majority of my runs right now are done in the 10min/mi pace. It is the only way to log the volume.

    The article mentioned the addition of sodium. This is important but not the only thing you need to plan for during the long ride and runs. Also plan on getting calories in the form of gels, bars, or actual food (I know, crazy). If you are taking in only liquid calories your sweat rate could be at such a high rate that these calories are being sweated out as fast as you are taking them in. If this happens heat exhaustion or heat stroke could occur. These are bad folks.

    That is my .02 and this being my 4th summer of training in extreme SE Texas temps have allowed me to experience both the extreme good and bad (and some very bad)!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Random Thoughts …My Profile

    • CTER says:

      You know I forgotnthatbwe ate HoneyStinger on the ride and how,glorious it was to have them.

      Yesterday during my run I only took in liquids and I felt great but then I paid for it during my swim. I did not hydrate properly afterwards even though I had my recovery shake. I just did not drink enough water during the day before Muslim and I paid for it. Around 2200y in and during the 10×100 repeats I started to cramp. During the 6×50 kickmihadnto cut it short because my toes started cramping. Not good. The unrealized I did not eat a HoneyStinger during the run and on a run over 1.5 hours I would wake one at the hour mark. Lesson learned.
      CTER recently posted..Training In The HeatMy Profile

  2. BDD says:

    – I wish I could simulate humdity with wet clothes in a dryer, but in the middle of the Midwest winter, it wont help. I dont think there is really anything in the winter I can do to train for heat.

    – I get what your saying about aero helmets, is 13 mins over 112 miles worth the extra amount of body heat your absorbing? I get sucking it up for 4 mins in a 40k, I rather be cooler for longer races.

    – I am a believer in compression, sure it might be a sugar pill, but it has me believing

    – Visor vs Hat – I am a visor guy, Visor allows the heat escape the top of your head, people like to where hats to dump ice in them or ice sponge and have it on top of your head, I see the benefits of both
    BDD recently posted..Muncie Race ReportMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I will find the article and the key was not aero helmet v road helmet but taking in liquids, it was very interesting because everybody assumes they will be hotter but if you replace your liquids there is a value in being off the bike and out onto the run sooner.

      Which brings me to my next point and one that may not be popular but why give away time? This is a race. Everybody says well only 3 minutes here or 5 minutes there. You point out 13 minutes in this post. So let’s add those all up and next thing you know you’re on the course for over an extra 1 hour. Which is better? Giving up the few minutes or finishing an hour earlier?
      CTER recently posted..Training In The HeatMy Profile

  3. Jessie says:

    Dehydration is the most unfun thing to go through. Last weekend I got sick for the first time on a run… I took a honeystinger at mile 15 and it was all over… So needless to say I have been on top of it this week. Thanks for the great tips!
    Jessie recently posted..3 Things Thursday – I might be a Triathlete, Mommy time, and overcoming a bonk runMy Profile

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