10 Tips for Surviving the Heat at Adventurethon
When the temperature goes up, we all notice a difference in our energy levels and our ability to compete. As your body sends blood to the skin (rather than to muscles) to assist with sweat production, you can lose up to 70% of your power, strength and endurance from overheating. Overheating and dehydrating can head to muscle melt down and even death.
We spoke to Kris Plain, winner of the Ultra at Adventurethon Albany 2013, and Adventurethon Kalbarri 2014 who shared his top 10 tips for beating the heat.
- Train in the heat or on hot days.
If you know you are going to be racing during some of the hottest period of the day it makes more sense to at least do some of your training during the hotter periods of the day to acclimatise your body to heat, to help you test out the best ways to cool and fuel your body during this period.
- Freeze your water bottles.
Have plenty of FROZEN bottles ready to go – you can keep them stored at transition, and it is important to know how long they will take to defrost, because you can’t drink ice. Placing frozen bottles or ice in particular cooling places on your body (down your bra, your shirt, your pants etc) will also be helpful alongside drinking ice cold fluids, in reducing the core body temperature.
- Double your electrolyte content
However much electrolytes you think you’ll need, you will probably need twice as much. Having too much plain water while racing inextreme heat can flush the important nutrients from your body. Electrolytes are important for your muscular and heart function. Magnesium helps your muscles relax, calcium helps them contract, potassium is for the communication between the nerve endings and your muscles including your heart and sodium is to help prevent muscular cramps. Plan accordingly.
- Know your limits in the heat
Know your body, and the limits you have and how far, hard you can push your body to go. Race at your own pace and don’t get caught up in the hype of racing. If you find your heart rate is getting a little high, drop back your pace and allow yourself to recover. You are there for your goals, and want to make it to the finish line.
Use it! Not only does it protect you from the harmful suns UV rays (Think chicken baking in oven) but it helps in keeping you cooler through this process. Try to use a sports sunscreen that allows your skin to breathe but still protect you from getting sunburn, thus sun stroke.
- Wear a hat and sunnies
Protect your face, eyes and head from the intensity of the sun – again avoiding sunstroke/heat stroke.
- Wear looser clothing
Looser clothing helps keep you cool – The looseness of a T-Shirt provides full cover and protects you whilst being really light/ breathable allowing increasing airflow around the body and for the body heat to escape and keep your temperature lower.
- Swim any chance you get
If you are by a river, ocean, creek, hose etc take the time to go for a dip and cool off. Don’t just splash it on yourself, immerse your whole body into the water and cool off. If there are no creeks etc, tip water over your head/neck.
- Make fluid a priority
Consume about 2L per hour of water/electrolytes etc. According to studies, every 1% decrease in body weight as water, results in an increase in core temperature of 0.10 – 0.40°C. And that exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight, with losses in excess of 5% body weight decreasing the capacity to function by as much as 30%.
- Source shade wherever possible
Keeping out of the sun wherever possible will increase your ability to cool down. Even if you need to take a minute to stop in the shade and use this time to get some more fluids into you.
Making sure you reach the finish line is very important to us at Adventurethon. We want to challenge and inspire you to try new things, but much prefer you do them well hydrated and cool. Use these tips, keep training and we will see you soon.
If you are looking for some ideas on hydration check out the Raidlight packs