Triathlon training requires a fair number of outdoor workouts, whether it's hill climbs on the bike or a long, slow run. While some of those workouts can be completed indoors, at some point, even in the dog days of summer, triathletes will find themselves training outdoors.
Professional athletes have tried just about everything under the sun, so to speak, to keep cool while they're on the course. Cliff English, former USA Triathlon national coach and coach to athletes including Rebecca and Laurel Wassner, Olympian Hunter Kemper, and TJ Tollakson says his athletes have tried a number of creative solutions.
One of his athletes tried to get a C02 cartridge to release its cooling air slowly while attached to a helmet or handlebars (it didn't work very well). English also said he and Tollakson tried creating wristbands that could hold ice cubes.
Ironman triathlete Torbjorn Sindballe, who placed third in the World Championships at Kona in 2007, purportedly wore a glove filled with ice to help him beat the heat.
The Science of Staying Cool
Scientists who study heat and performance say strategies like these can make you feel cooler, but that feeling cooler doesn't mean your core temperature is actually getting cooler.
"To really change an elevated body temperature, you almost have to get into an ice bath," says William O. Roberts, M.D., professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon. "A little mister on the course isn't going to do anything for you."
All of the things you can do to feel cooler are really "minor players when we look at heat balance," says Lawrence Armstrong, a professor of environmental and exercise physiology at the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. "The heat you're producing is so great that it overwhelms these other factors."