As you progress along with your triathlon journey and you enter more and more races, sooner or later you are going to be faced with racing in warmer climates or conditions and in some cases not having the chance to acclimatise to the warmer weather. I am by no means an expert in racing in the heat but by chance my last few major races have all delivered either a Heat Wave or me travelling to unfamiliar humid locations.
In all these circumstances I struggled in the heat but each race gave me some more perspective on how to do your best to lessen the effect of heat during a race.
Think differently about acclimatising
Even if you can’t get to the location with enough time to acclimatise, at least give yourself a day or two. You may also need to think outside the square when it comes to getting use to the heat. Some suggestions I have heard are, spending an hour in a sauna using a jump rope for the week prior, getting involved in Bikram yoga, and training with more layers of clothing.
Consider your race gear…Not Black
I was guilty of this one in my last race, in Fiji. I did not have a top with pockets to carry extra bike tubes, so went with the black top and it made a massive difference to my overall temperature and cooked me out on the run leg.
Leave your wetsuit at home
You will be travelling lighter and you won’t end up poaching yourself like an egg in the swim. Even though you are immersed in water, a lot of people forget that they are still sweating and a wetsuit on a hot day will cause you to lose a lot of fluids.
Freezing your bike drink bottle
This is a great start to keep your core body temperature from spiking before you hit the run.
Set a timer for drinking on the bike
Getting caught up in the race can sometimes draw your attention away from the fact that you should be drinking regularly. Set a timer on your watch that will go off every ten minutes to remind yourself to take in extra fluids.
I know this sounds weird but you need to remember that by cooling your extremities is a great way to cool down the core body temperature. If there is ice being provided on the course, make sure you get some down you tri top, under your hat, and hold onto a couple of cubes in each hand.
Adjust the time you intend to complete by, adjust your pace
Lastly you need to remember that as your body heats up, your heart rate will increase. This may mean thay you need to adjust your expected finishing time as your body is going to be wasting a lot more energy than it normally would trying to keep itself cool.
Tri Swim Coach Ambassador
Vince works as an IT Engineer in Melbourne, Australia where he lives with his cat Tim Tam. He has been a runner for longer than he can remember. He competes in distance running races, open water swims and long course triathlons.