How does someone from cooler parts of the country, say, Chicago or even Fargo, prepare to compete in temperatures 10, 20, or even 30 degrees warmer than those they’ve trained in? It can be tricky, but here are some helpful tips to help you make the most of your warm weather competition.
First, the more time you spend acclimating to the warmer location, the better off you’ll be. This seems like a no-brainer: the longer you’re exposed to the higher temperature, the less new it is to your body. However, because we experience a full range of temperatures as we train over the course of year, we sometimes assume we’ll adjust quicker than our bodies actually can. Ideally, you’ll have at least two weeks in your warmer race locale before the big day. Assuming you’ve got a regular 9-to-5 gig and you’ve used up most of your vacation on the other eight races you’ve run this year, just get there as far in advance as you can.
Second, make adjustments to your pace and output. While the average temperature in Panama City Beach for November is a comfy 75 degrees, if you’ve already grown accustomed to Fargo’s 48-degree average high, you’ll be in for a shock! A great indicator of how and when to make adjustments to your performance is… your own body! Is your breathing heavier than usual? Are you significantly more uncomfortable at this stage of the race than you would be otherwise? Reduce your pace a bit or dial back any extra-effort intervals you’ve been relying on.
Third, adjust your training back home before you head to our race destination. If you plan to compete in a climate 20 or 30 degrees warmer than your own, the first thing you’ll want to do is train indoors. There, you can adjust the temperature to mimic what you expect to find on location. If you can’t get to the thermostat, try other techniques like wearing some extra layers or only training in the warmest, sunniest part of the day.
Fourth and finally, plan to stay hydrated. It goes without saying, but warmer weather means more sweat. More sweat means increased fluid and electrolyte loss. Plan to drink more on race day than you’ve needed in your cooler training location. Also, make sure you bring along a sports drink or electrolyte-fortified water to replenish the minerals lost through sweating. And don’t wait until race day—amp up the fluid intake in the days immediately leading up to race day.
MORE ON THE HOTSHOT BLOG
Train Smarter: 5 things every triathlete should incorporate into their IRONMAN training plan.
Training For Success in Extreme Summer Heat: 6 tips to keep you safe and prepared.
Running Tips: How to taper for race day.