Keep Your Cool: 10 Ways to Beat the Heat

7. Make a Plan

The best way to incorporate your hydration, nutrition and electrolyte consumption into a sensible routine is to make a plan. You may want have a plan for different scenarios based on different environmental conditions. Practice these plans in training. Below is a sample plan. Click here for a printable document.


Scenario: (Cold/Warm/Hot)  Air Temp ___°C/F  Humidity: (Low/Med/High)

Known Sweat Rates: Swim:_     (oz/min)  Bike___ (oz/min)  Run __ oz/min) 

 

Event

Time

Type

g/%

Electrolytes

Volume

Pre-Race

3 to 2 hours

Food

 

Fluid

 

 

Carbs

 

Water

 

 

 

2 hours to 15 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 to 0 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post-Race

0 to 20 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 


20 minutes to 2 hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Wear Cool Clothing

Light colors will enable an athlete to remain cooler than if he or she chose dark clothing. In addition, a looser fit and lighter fabric increases air circulation and helps to wick sweat away from the body. Wet clothing actually speeds up evaporation, cooling the athlete more quickly than if he or she were to change into dry clothes. Thus, if possible, wear your biking clothes under your wetsuit. This makes for a quick transition and optimal cooling.

Wearing a visor on the run is also more efficient than wearing a hat because much of the body heat is lost through the head, so ventilation in this area is very important.

9. Develop Cooling Strategies

Remember that it is better for cooling to put a fluid in you than on you, but ideally you can do both. External cooling can be achieved by using cold water, ice or sponges in critical areas such as the back of the head, neck and chest.

In very humid conditions you may want to wipe the sweat off because the air is too saturated to do the job for you. Sunglasses can ease stress on the eyes. Finally, be sure to use sunscreen, as sunburned skin promotes dehydration and doesn't regulate temperature as well as healthy skin.

10. Rehydrate and Recover

Effective recovery will help you become faster and stronger as your body adapts and super-compensates. Within the first 20 minutes after exercise, rehydrate with at least two to three cups of sports drink for every pound of body weight lost.

Lower your body temperature as soon as possible by moving to a cooler area out of the sun with access to water and ice. It is also important to replace your glucose stores with easily digestible foods, such as fruit. Try to get a full meal including complex carbohydrates and proteins within two to three hours following the activity.

Follow these guidelines and you will maximize your performance in the heat. Remember to keep cool, get the calories you need and keep hydrating. It will take some effort, but the results are well worth it.


Paul Regensburg and Lance Watson are the lead coaches for LifeSport Coaching (lifesport.ca). They have coached Olympic and Ironman champions and offer coaching programs for all abilities. For coaching inquires and questions, contact them at coach@lifesport.ca.

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