General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Heat and humidity effects Rss Feed  
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2018-09-03 5:26 PM


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Subject: Heat and humidity effects
Well, I completed my second Sprint Triathalon, 6 weeks apart, did about the same -- finished each time last for the men's group. I'm pleased I finished, but it's human nature to compare with others, sort of competing.

I'm older, 74, and this is the start for me to improve myself. My weight is good, need to build endurance. I routinely bike at 13 MPH, my strongest sport. Still learning to swim freestyle, that will come.

So I know what I need (am are willing) to do to improve. What I don't know is how to handle the heat and humidity. I really need advise. I live in North Carolina, and August is hot (87 degrees on race day) with near matching humidity (76% on race day).

I sweat a lot anyway.

I drank and drank water on the bike and jog. I took salt pills, I drank apple juice for energy and an energy bar/banana before I started.

When I went from the bike to the jog (forget running), I could feel my body temperature rising. I felt hot in the head, and I could tell I could be in trouble if I pushed. So I walked the 2.0 miles in 32 minutes.

I really should have stopped, but NO WAY would I be a DNF.

My "kit" was all black, my helmet is black. I can change those to lighter colors, but unless I can better manage the heat and humidity, I will never improve, regardless of my building up endurance over the winter months to come.

And I do practice in the heat/humidity, but all 3 together was pushing it.

So I'm pleased I finished, I know--complete don't compete. But I'm disappointed in the way I finished, last in the men's group for the second time in 2 tries and possibly closing in on heat stroke.

Thank you for listening and your advice is welcome


2018-09-03 6:16 PM
in reply to: nathan_strahl@yahoo.

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Champion
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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects

Way to go!

I live and train in Columbia, SC.  I'm familiar with heat and humidity.  (I'm also 20 years your junior, and in awe of your energy.)

First and foremost, you MUST slow down when it is hot and humid.  Probably more than most people realize.  I know that your weather 'app' (or online weather source, or on the news, or whatever) will say something like "temp 87, feels like 93".  Throw that out the window.  It's true if you are sitting on the front porch.  If you are training (or racing), then 'feels like 93' is a serious understatement.  In those circumstances, your body's ability to cool itself with sweat (which is the main way to do it, unless you jump into a lake) is nearly nullified by the humidity.  You will overheat if you do not slow way, way, down.

Example:  I can easily run 7:00/mile for 5 miles in winter.  That's a pretty easy workout for me., in fact.  But in mid-summer, in the heat, 9:00/mile or even slower can feel comparable, or worse!  That's something like a 30% slow-down, which is huge.  (It means that if you are running 10:00/mile at your peak, then you slow down to 13:00/mile.  At 13:00/mile, you slow down to almost 17:00/mile, which is walking.)

Over time, you do become more heat-acclimated, but the effect does not entirely overcome the deficit you will experience in the heat.  It's inevitable.  Slow down.  Doing so is especially important in the run, where the effect of wind is 'little to none'.  You might not be able to run at all, but just walk briskly.

Despite the fact that training in the heat can generate some acclimatization, it is generally agreed that you should avoid training in the heat if possible.  You will improve more if you can train in the 'cooler' parts of the day.  (Yes, I am all too aware that in certain parts of the summer, the 'cooler' parts of the day are still 80 degrees and 80% humidity....  It's where we live.)

Best of luck to you!  Beautiful weather is on the way!  I was in your great state this past weekend, and temperatures were still up there (but 10 degrees cooler than Columbia!) but 'trending downwards'.  Enjoy the winter.

2018-09-03 9:44 PM
in reply to: nathan_strahl@yahoo.

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Master
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Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects
Training/racing in the heat is its own "ball game" in many ways. Until returning to the US this past June, I spent most of the less decade living in southern Vietnam and racing mostly in SE Asia, so it kind of became my specialty.

The previous post has some great advice about managing expectations and training. Will add a few things from my experience:

*Yes, you might want to look at your equipment if you usually train and race in those conditions. All black is probably not as good as lighter colors, unless maybe the fabric is specially treated to enhance cooling. There are some tri clothes available that do that. I usually race in 2XU suits that have a fabric called "Ice-X" that purportedly cools your skin by about 5 degrees. Yes, it's not core cooling, but it does help with comfort levels. Some of the other big tri brands have suits with similar fabrics. The great thing about these fabrics is they are most effective when wet, which goes with the territory in a tri, and humid conditions in general. A light colored hat is a good idea.

*You probably need to tweak your hydration and nutrition to account for the heat. In those conditions, an electrolyte drink like Nuun, Endurolyte, or (if you want calories through your drink) Gatorade is probably better than just water. Salt pills can help, but electrolyte tabs also can help replace other minerals lost through sweat. You may find that gu or liquid calories go down better in the heat than solids, especially in a shorter, more intense race. I find I tend to take in considerably fewer calories, and drink considerably more, in hot, humid conditions. Dehydration is a far more serious concern than running out of energy for most people in a shorter race.

*Practice strategies for cooling yourself during a race. Don't just drink the water, pour it over your head. Squeeze sponges over yourself or stick them in your top or in your hat. Ditto for ice--it can be eaten, sucked, held in your hands, or shoved into your tri top (sports bras for the girls) or even your shorts! In really hot races (i.e. Ironman Vietnam 70.3) I carry a lot of my own electrolyte drink (two 20-oz bottles) in a waist pack. Aside from the convenience of being able to drink when I want/need to and have a familiar drink that I know will meet my needs and not cause GI issues, it also frees my hands/attention to focus more on cooling options (what a tri friend of mine calls my "ice dance") at each aid station. Watch the pros on the Kona Ironman show for more ideas on how to do the "ice dance"!

*If you have a heart rate monitor, it can be a good proxy for heat/hydration status. Heart rate tends to drift up with continued heat stress, even if your effort level remains the same. (Plus you slow down!) When I trained in Saigon, I mainly used heart rate to gauge intensity, rather than pace. When your heart rate continues to rise despite steady effort level and a similar or slowing pace, it's a good sign of issues with heat or hydration. In training, I would slow down or walk at times if my HR exceeded the desired zone for the workout.
2018-09-04 3:20 PM
in reply to: #5248871

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Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects
I'm in FL and a big local race is held 1st weekend in June. One year was brutal with heat and humidity. I froze a sandwich plastic baggy with little water and placed it over a ball and shaped it. When i started to run i had it in a very small personal cooler with ice and put it under my hat. Should do this for some of my longer training run now!
2018-09-04 8:00 PM
in reply to: Donto

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Champion
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Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects

Ice in the hat is great advice.  I've stuffed ice in my hat many times during races.  It helps a lot.

I also agree with everything that Hot Runner said.

2018-09-05 11:59 AM
in reply to: Experior

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Master
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Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects


2018-09-05 12:43 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner


15

Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects
Thank you. I will give the 2Xy Ice-X a try. I am 5' 10'' tall and weigh about 172, waist 35-36. I think a large would be a good fit. How does that compare to your measurements and size suit? I am looking at 1-piece from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/2XU-Compression-Singlet-Black-Large/dp/B01IFS...

2018-09-05 1:20 PM
in reply to: nathan_strahl@yahoo.

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Master
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Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects
Well.....since I am female, and about 5'7" and 115-120 pounds, I am probably not a very good basis for comparison! 2XU tends to run pretty average as far as sizing, at least for women. I have three women's suits (all one-piece)--one M (a sleeveless compression suit), one XS (sleeveless, not compression), and one S (sleeved, compression). They seem to fit equally well and I have raced in them with/without a wetsuit. The "compression" models have a slightly snugger fit; for women at least it seems similar to going down one size. When I look at the current size charts, in one dimension it suggests I am XS, another M, and the other, S. For the most recent suit, I went with S since that was chest size and I figured that was most critical (too tight and breathing would be uncomfortable for all events). I would say go with whatever looks closest overall to your measurements while making sure the chest is not too tight.

BTW the item you linked to is a top, not a one-piece suit.
2018-09-05 1:26 PM
in reply to: nathan_strahl@yahoo.

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DC
Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects
DC "swamp" resident here....

I set my heart rate monitor to let me know when I pass zone 2. Accordingly, I may be running a 7.5 min pace or 10+ min pace. The body will adapt.
2018-09-05 2:37 PM
in reply to: 0

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Master
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects
Yep, it is amazing how much difference there can be in pace at the same HR between a temperate climate and a hot, humid one. For me it is usually more than one minute/mile at Z2, usually closer to 90 seconds/mile.

Edited by Hot Runner 2018-09-05 2:37 PM
2018-09-05 3:24 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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DC
Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects
Originally posted by Hot Runner

Yep, it is amazing how much difference there can be in pace at the same HR between a temperate climate and a hot, humid one. For me it is usually more than one minute/mile at Z2, usually closer to 90 seconds/mile.


Yeah, & I think the idea is train "hard" in the humidity to race stronger in the fall!


2018-09-05 4:19 PM
in reply to: nathan_strahl@yahoo.

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Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects
In those winter months, consider using a heater when you bike or run. Sounds silly, but I used it for training for IMTX. Kansas City is cold until about late May, around race day for IMTX at the time. If your body is acclimated over the winter to work hard in cool temps, you have to re-acclimate all over.

Speaking of acclimation, there's working out in the AM before work or PM after, or during non peak temp times.
I try and get runs over lunch when it's 95 with 90% humidity here in KC for acclimation.
Short stints that won't push me over the edge, but gets my body used to working while sweating as much as I do.

Hydrate on the bike, cause when you hit the run you will not catch up. You want to be 1 to 2% dehydrated before hitting the bike.
Do a sweat test to see what you really lose in race conditions and use that for your targets during racing.
2018-09-05 7:50 PM
in reply to: 0

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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Heat and humidity effects

I wasn't going to go into training details, because honestly I think that OP really just needs to appreciate just how much the heat slows us down, and then try to take some of the excellent measures mentioned by Hot Runner and others.

But as it has come up...

Training for a warm race in the cold (winter) is a bit tricky.  And...it actually doesn't take all that much to get the physiological benefits of training in the heat anyway.

On the flip side, training in the heat diminishes the other benefits of training, because your body is busy using blood to cool itself, which mean less blood flow to the muscles, which means they cannot work as hard, which reduces benefits such as greater development of mitochondria, recruitment of otherwise unused muscle fibers. more efficient use of fat as a fuel source, and so on.

In short:  'Heat acclimatization' can easily be overdone.

Studies repeatedly show that 2-3 moderate workouts per week for a few weeks in the heat can generate the physiological changes that help us adapt for racing in the heat (such as increased sweat rate and changes in sweat composition).  Emphasis on:  it happens in a matter of a few weeks.  After that, 1-2 workouts per week is enough to maintain those adaptations.

The lesson, I think, is that if you are going to race in the heat while training in the cold, then yes, go ahead and try to get some 'warmer' workouts in.  Do not make those your key (more intense) workouts of the week.  (Also don't make them your 'recovery' workouts, because they will generally be too hard for recovery, due to the heat.)  And once the changes have occurred, reduce the number of times you do it per week, in order to reap the greater benefits of training in the cool (when your body can focus on working the muscles and related systems instead of cooling itself).

 



Edited by Experior 2018-09-05 8:08 PM
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