Endurance athletes can be so focused on beating their PR, they ignore the one factor that can hold them back on race day: the heat.
Training and competing when it's hot outside presents physical and mental challenges for endurance athletes. To prevent heat-related ailments and perform well in an event, athletes must be informed and intentional about their preparation.
Successful endurance athletes must master a number of components in the course of their training and racing. One of the most important of these is the relationship between heat, humidity, hydration and performance.
The combination of heat and humidity (heat index) has the greatest effect on performance. For example, with 100 percent humidity, 75 degrees will feel like 80 degrees. (To determine what the actual temperature will "feel like," check out this link for heat index calculators.)
Here are six tips that will help you effectively manage your training and racing in warmer climates:
Understand Your Fluid Needs
Staying properly hydrated is essential. To see how much fluid you will lose—and need to replace—during a workout, use these steps:
- Begin by weighing yourself (nude) before a 60-minute run or ride.
- Run or ride at tempo pace, keeping track of how much you drink in ounces.
- After your workout, strip down and weigh yourself again.
- Subtract your post-workout weight from your pre-workout weight and convert to ounces. Add the ounces of liquid you consumed during the workout. For example, if you were down a pound of body weight and consumed 16 ounces of fluid, your total fluid loss would be 32 ounces.
- To determine how much fluid you should be consuming every 15 minutes, divide your hourly fluid loss by 4. (Ex: 32/4 = 8 ounces per 15 minutes.)
- Note: This test only determines your losses for the conditions of that particular workout. It's a good idea to retest on another day when conditions are different to see how your sweat rate changes.