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How to adapt your training and racing for the heat

It's getting hot out there! Here's my top tips for training and racing in the heat.

Part 1 - 3 top tips for adapting your training to the heat

1. Drop your pace or power. Your body is busy keeping you alive by stopping you over heating, so it will be harder to put out the same power (blood is diverted from muscles and gut to the skin to cool you, so there's less blood left to power your training). Respect the goal of the session so it FEELS the same as normal, rather than trying to match the same numbers. You are still getting the same training benefits because you're working just as hard, whereas if you try and match your normal numbers you'll be working too hard.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, before, during and after, and that includes electrolytes.

3. Plan your training - can you train earlier on, in a gym with air con, can you swap the hardest sessions for cooler days/ bring forwards a rest week?

Part 2: Heat acclimation training ahead of hot races

If you're likely to have a hot race then it's worth adding in some heat acclimation sessions in the 2-3 weeks pre race. The good news is that even if it's not hot on race day, it can improve performance by expanding blood plasma. The bad news is that it's not very pleasant and gets very sweaty!

See the sample sessions below, and make sure you stick to the key principles, otherwise you can do more harm than good. Start with shorter sessions and build up as you adapt.

Women, I'm afraid we might need to do more sessions than men to adapt. Some research says up to 10, I dont think that's practical for most non pros, given you have the rest of life and training to do so do what you can. I've certainly felt the benefit off less than that.

Part 3 - Racing and competing in the heat

Main take home message: it's very unlikely that you will be able to race at the same intensity as you would on a cool day. Your body is diverting blood away from your muscles and stomach to your skin to keep you cool and keep you alive. So adapt your plans and training or the heat. Going too hard at the beginning will mean you go slower overall, and potentially have a miserable day!

Things you can do to reduce the impact of the heat: - heat acclimation training (see yesterday) - train your gut to take on more fluid (including electrolytes, for long races have a plan for after you finish your bottles on the bike and for the run) - test and check your kit for the heat - how can you reduce chaffing, which socks don't give you blisters if you're pouring water over your head etc etc. - work on mindset, it could be a tough day, and your goal time might need to change, but it's still your goal race, how can you get the most out of it?

For more info

- See my webinar on training for the heat for more -

- See the Oxygen Addict podcast #441 and Time Crunched Cyclist Podcast - June 14

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