As we get closer to the big show in Kona here are a few things to keep in mind when you are getting ready to race in the heat.
1. Get acclimated
The single most valuable thing you can do to be ready for the heat is to spend time in the heat. Your body is a wonderful thing- when it’s stressed it adapts. Sweat response and sweat rates often adjust, blood plasma volume increases and your ability to tolerate the heat mentally increases.
2. Manage your effort
The heat ads another level of stress that needs to be respected. This may mean that you have to slow down a fraction if you want to be successful over the long haul.
3. Cool down
Do anything and everything you can to cool down during the race. This starts with hydration- hydration allows your body to utilize its primary cooling mechanism, which is to sweat. But you can also physically cool yourself down by putting ice on your key heat-trap areas namely the groin and the head. So yes, shove ice down your shorts and put it under your hat. Holding ice in the palm of your hands is another small strategy you can incorporate to help you cool down. Blood travels through the entire body including the palms- when it passes under the ice it will cool down even if just a fraction.
4. Keep moving!
If you are hurting, chances are, everyone else is too. When it’s hot sometimes you simply need to just keep moving forward and you will have success.
5. Slow down through aid stations
Hydration and nutrition are top priorities when you are doing a long race in hot weather. You must do everything you can to acquire and ingest fluids even if that means slowing down through the aid stations. The time you lose by slowing down will come back you ten fold by staying hydrated.