So race week is upon you, and you, as the day inches closer, check your weather app more and more, but the expected temperature on race day keeps climbing every time you check, 90, 91, 92, 98… woah that last one was a big jump. Sound familiar?
What do you do to prepare yourself for an imminent hot race and how can you deal with the heat and still race on the day? Here are some quick tips:
#1. Hydrate - In the days leading up to the race, it is important to hydrate and avoid letting yourself get dehydrated. By hydrate I don’t simply mean drink lots of water; water alone won’t hydrate you very well. In fact, if you are drinking tons of water, really all you are doing is increasing the amount you will need to visit the restroom.
Be sure to include some extra electrolytes in your diet and fluids, especially salt (sodium). The sodium will help your body absorb the water and keep you in balance. Electrolyte products can be helpful for this, but really it is as simple as adding a pinch of salt to water or a bit extra to your meal (consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure or are on any sodium restrictions). You will likely not even taste the pinch of salt in your water, but it will go a long way in helping you hydrate properly.
#2. Avoid Heat Exposure- Long needless hours in the heat will do little except dehydrate you at this point. Best to avoid large amounts of exposure to the heat until race day.
#1. Replenish First- First thing when you wake up, drink 8-16 oz of water with a pinch of salt or electrolyte replacement to replenish what you inevitably lost during sleep.
#2. Dress For Success - Wearing light, breathable and moisture wicking materials helps the body stay cool. The body cools through a process called evaporative cooling. Moisture wicking materials help the body continue this natural process whereas materials like cotton hold the moisture and insulate the body, making the problem worse! A well designed race kit or tri-suit can actually speed up this evaporative cooling process and cool you more quickly! check out the TEAM P3 Tri-suits made from De Soto Sports Skin Cooler fabric at P3Fitness.co/shop
#3. Drink To Thirst- During the race, the simplest method for hydration that will cause the fewest problems is simple: if you are thirsty, drink! If you are not thirsty, don’t!
Your body knows what it needs; it craves fluids when it needs them. When it needs electrolytes, you crave something salty. Listen to your body on the day; it will guide you.
#4.ELECTROLYTES- This is key. On a hot day you should be consuming liquids with electrolytes! Electrolyte replacement beverages or electrolyte supplements will do just fine, but make sure you are always taking in electrolytes with your fluids. There are more issues associated with drinking too much plain water in races than there are with taking electrolytes (hyponatremia: look it up)
#5 - Pace Accordingly- Your body uses the same blood to cool you that it does to work your muscles. The hotter it gets, the more your body needs to cool, the less blood is available to work your muscles any harder. Set your pace expectations appropriately based on the expected temperature.
#6 - LISTEN TO YOUR BODY- At all times you must listen to the signals from your body. If you are lightheaded or dizzy, seek assistance. If you stop sweating completely and find your skin bone dry, seek assistance. The first line of defense is to know the danger signs and to listen to what your body is telling you!