Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Training in 105 Deg. Heat!!

It's getting hot here in Tucson!! This is how we load our bikes up for rides... my Kestrel here has four water bottle holders.

The high temp hit 105 deg. yesterday with zero cloud cover. It's a dry heat, but dry like opening the oven door after preheating and feeling that surge of hot air on your face. For those of us who are endurance athletes and heavy sweaters, training in these conditions can pose a challenge!

The first step when training in the desert is to smear a tub load of sunblock all over. I like the zinc based sun block, so I have sort of a pale white tint I'm sure draws some interesting comments from motorists passing by me as I ride. I'm not really too concerned about fashion though as I'd rather protect my skin from the desert heat and sun.

Hydrating is where the challenge lies. Routes need to be coordinated so that you can stop frequently and refill water bottles. A poorly planned route without refill stations can leave you dizzy, disoriented and cramping due to dehydration. The interesting thing about 'dry heat' is that you sweat like crazy without really even realizing it until it's too late!

So, yesterday I did a 2 hr aerobic bike followed by a 45 min aerobic run as my last 'long workout' before Eagleman 70.3 this coming weekend. My schedule, between work stuff, kid stuff, etc. ... dictated that I hit the roads at 1 pm... not ideal! I weighed myself before heading out and weighed in at 164.5 lbs. I consumed fluids prior to heading out, including 2 cans of V8 juice to top off the electrolyte / sodium stores (1200 mg sodium in two cans). I took with me 2 bottles full of the new Powerbar product, Ironman Perform, and one bottle of water... or 60 fl oz total. I felt good on the bike at the finish, although I underestimated my fluid needs and was extremely thirsty at the end.

After a 5 minute transition in which I drank another 20 fl oz bottle of Perform plus 12 oz of a water/V8 (sodium) mix, I headed out on my run. I carried with me a 20 fl oz bottle of Perform to hit as I ran along.

I felt good, never cramping (a huge problem for me lately) and ran strong. At the end of the run, I was happy to be done as my insides felt like they were ready to boil! I quickly drank another 20 fl oz of cold water + gatorade.

I then checked my post workout weight (after almost 3 hrs of steady aerobic work in 105 deg. heat) after drinking almost 140 fl oz of fluids during that time period (about 8 lbs of fluid) and tipped the scale at 156.6 lbs! Over 15 lbs of net fluid loss in 3 hours!!!!!! See... I'm a heavy sweater, eh?! Before bed and after downing tons of fluid (including a tall glass of Arrogant Bastard Ale...good stuff!), a vege pizza and lots of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Chunk, I was back up to 165. :)

In calculating my fluid needs, I'm going to have to aim for 60-80 fl oz per hour on the bike at Eagleman should it be a hot and humid day, and then do what I can to consume as much as I can tolerate on the run. My fear is cramping... something that I never used to do when I was in my 20's and racing hard, but seems to happen with frequency now in my early 40's. Finding that right balance of fluids and electrolytes for hot weather long course racing will be interesting and a learning experience for me this year... and I'm guessing I'll need to err on the side of being extremely focused on pushing tons of fluids and sodium.

I'll keep you posted regarding my findings at Eman. I have good fitness now and should race well... but leg cramps can quickly derail well intended race goals. In the meantime, remember to focus on YOUR training nutrition needs too!

Train smart,
Coach Troy


  1. After watching your dvd's for the last 3 years as my wife trained for the 2009 LP IM, it's great reading about your "comeback" as a masters athlete. Best of luck at Eagleman.

  2. Congrats on your Eagleman finish Troy! Looks like you finished well enough for a Kona slot...are you going to do it this year even though this was supposed to be your "training" year? Maybe you only needed a training half-year.