Thursday, August 12, 2010
Dave Scott: Tips to Beat the Heat
By Dave Scott
I just returned from the 30th annual Sportspectrum RiverCities Triathlon race in Shreveport, LA. I've been invited to speak and chat with the athletes on six different occasions and this year's event was certainly a memorable one. The "production" put on by Matt Brown & his team was incredible, but the athletes had to endure a rather stressful hot & humid race - outside temperatures soared to 104° with a humidity of 70%.
With these extreme environmental conditions, and I witnessed them firsthand after I decided to jump into the race at the last minute, there are a few precautionary steps that you should take to negate or slow down some of the inevitable effects of training or racing in heat and humidity.
Recognize that your brain is trying to balance the heat load by sending blood to your skin surface in an attempt to cool yourself. Consequently, the blood is shunted from your working muscles and organs. As your internal physiology tries to keep you cool - you become less efficient. What can you do?
• Stay as cool as possible before you start.
• Drink 4-12 oz. of cold fluid replacement drink if your race or training session is at high intensity or longer than an hour. Drink H2O if lower intensity or shorter duration - either one consumed 4-12 minutes before you start.
• Wear a ventilated hat or visor and loose clothing.
• Grab a cold sponge or towel and wipe your forearms & neck - you have a lot of thermo receptors in these two areas. The relief is temporary, however if you can do this at every aid station (1 km to 1 mile) on the run, you will get some additional cooling on the skin.
• Try to acclimate to the environment. If you live in Barrow, Alaska and plan on racing in Shreveport, LA, the acclimation time will take 10-18 days in "similar" hot/humid conditions to acclimate.
• If you're a heavy sweater and the exercise session last longer than 1 hr., you may need extra sodium (400-1000 mg/hr.) during your session. Take the additional Na in tablet form every 12-15 minutes beyond the 1 hr. mark.
• Re-hydrate with water and fluid replacement drink immediately after the session. It may take 4-6 hours to completely re hydrate. Your urge to pee should be within 2 hours post session and your urine color should be pretty clear
Ok, that's it and good luck! Check out the RiverCities race, it's a great event - albeit a bit toasty.