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How to maximise your triathlon performance in the heat

Apr 28, 2022

Have you got a hot race coming up? Ever wondered whether you should be doing any heat acclimatisation or heat adaptation?

On a recent Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast, I spoke to Physiologist, Avish Sharma. He was the lead Physiologist for Triathlon Australia in the preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which was always set to be a hot environment. He shared his practical, evidence-based heat adaptation advice to help with racing and training in the heat (that actually works).

We looked into:

  • Why would you want to heat adapt yourself?
  • Who is it beneficial for?
  • Are there any negative implications of heat adaptation?
  • How do you heat adapt yourself?
  • How long do the performance gains of heat acclimation last for?
  • Practical suggestions if you have a hot race coming up like Cairns or Kona
  • What to do if you live in a cooler environment but have to travel to a hot race? 
  • And he gave some suggestions for pre-cooling strategies you can implement to keep your core temperature down

SO HOW DOES HEAT ADAPTATION WORK?

When you exercise, most of the blood that's flowing in your body is directed to your working muscles. But when you exercise in the heat, exercising normally, unadapted, causes you to produce more heat than usual and faster. It can become quite detrimental to performance. 

One of the ways your body compensates initially is by directing more blood flow to your skin, so you can dissipate off more heat. But then that affects your exercise performance.  

WHY WOULD YOU HEAT ADAPT?

One of the reasons you heat adapt is to facilitate that process. Over time, as your body adapts, physiological processes will occur, and more blood flow will be directed to your muscle. This can then be followed by a series of further adaptations such as reduced heart rate, skin, blood flow to help you dissipate heat better, sweat rates etc that help you thermoregulate better in the heat and preserve your exercise performance.

WHY MIGHT YOU NOT HEAT ADAPT?

Heat adaptation shouldn’t be considered without having all the basics like having a high level of general fitness, being on top of your energy availability and having your nutrition optimised and periodised before looking at heat adaptation as a strategy.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HEAT ADAPTATION

Want to know more about the ins and outs and the pros and cons of heat adaptation? Then listen to Episode 39 - How to maximise your triathlon performance in the heat on the Triathlon Nutrition Podcast - Click HERE.

Or tune in wherever you listen to your podcasts 🎧

 

And if you’re ready to understand exactly what you need to be eating to support triathlon training and perform at your best, join us inside the Triathlon Nutrition Academy | Learn More HERE

 

If you’re interested in joining the Triathlon Nutrition Academy, pop your name on the waitlist NOW | Join the TNA Waitlist

If you are looking for a Sports Dietitian and want to learn more about working with me, click HERE to see what I offer for private, 1 on 1 consultations.

 

 

 

 

 

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