Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Manage the Heat

By: Chris Sweet
USAT Certified Triathlon Coach

(This is an outline of a longer presentation I gave to the Tri-Shark Triathlon Club. If something is unclear from these notes shoot me an e-mail and I can elaborate.)

About 75% of your energy expenditure during exercise results in heat!

  • Proper heat management starts with your last workout
  • High SPF/ Waterproof sunscreen. Can do 1st application night before
  • Keep the hydration up all day long. At night you should be up to pee at least once.
  • Urine should be light yellow, but multivitamins can make it darker
  • When possible train in off-peak hours: early morning and evening
  • During high heat consider the bike trainer or treadmill as more effective alternative to racing outside
  • Don’t forget to hydrate during swim workouts
  • Racing- can cut holes in the top of your swim cap
  • Hot, but wetsuit legal swims. Put ice inside your wetsuit.
  • White or light-colored clothing.
  • White helmet
  • Consider wearing a camelback pack with iced fluids to keep up with hydration
  • Desoto arm coolers (white arm sleeves designed to keep you cooler)
  • Racing: put extra water into your helmet vents and over your torso for extra cooling
  • Monitor your peeing. Should be about every 1.5 hours.
  • White hat (not visor). Can douse with water/put ice under
  • Racing: put ice from aid stations in your singlet and down your shorts (femoral artery)
  • Racing: latex gloves filled with ice
  • Racing: Reapply sunscreen if needed
Hot weather nutrition
  • Take in electrolytes, but research shows they don’t help with cramping.
  • Use water, but with gels/electrolyte drinks.  Too much water can cause hyponatermia
  • If your drink has electrolytes additional salt tablets are usually not needed
  • Begin rehydrating immediately. Key components are carbohydrate plus a little protein and a little electrolytes
  • Foods for hydration: watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, smoothies, slimfast shakes
  • For serious dehydration first recourse is an I.V. Pedialyte is an effective home treatment for moderate dehydration
Know your sweat rate.
  • This involves working out in a given temperature for a fixed amount of time and determining the rate at which you lose fluids. Powerbar.com has a simple calculator to assist you with this: http://www.powerbar.com/calculators/sweat.aspx
Heat acclimation training
  • The concept here is to regularly submit your body to training in the heat prior to an expected hot race. Research shows this can be an effective strategy. Training in heat increases blood plasma volume over time and promotes other positive physiological adaptations to exercising in the heat. It is not a “quick fix.” Training in the heat the week before a race won’t help. Adaptation occur over a 3-4 week time period. Sessions need not be longer than 100 minutes. Acclimation must be maintained otherwise the positive effects begin to diminish.
What is sun poisoning?
  • Not real poisoning. Just a severe sunburn.
  • Symptoms include:  blisters, fever/chills, headache, nausea
  • Treatment: cool bath/shower, ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain, aloe gel, increased fluid intake for a few days following.

What is heat stroke?
  • Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body temperature reaches 104°F (40°C) or higher. Heatstroke can be brought on by high environmental temperatures, by strenuous physical activity or by other conditions that raise your body temperature.
  • Symptoms: 104+ body temperature (measured rectally when heat stroke is expected), bright red skin, abnormally high heart rate, light-headed, nauseous, extreme fatigue, headache, cramping, dark urine
  • Treatment: Immersion in an ice water tub or coverage with ice water-soaked towels or evaporative cooling with cool mist and fans.
Additional Resources: