Overheating, cramping, and GI distress are the most significant risk factor for your race day performance and your health.
With just a few degree increase in your core temperature your race day performance is in jeopardy! Yet too many coaches and nutritionists fail to recommend the simple proven nutrition and hydration science that will help you deal with the heat.
On hotter days your sweat mechanism is kicked into overdrive to help cool your skin via evaporation. Excessive sweating leads to a CRITICAL loss of the electrolytes in your sweat; these are the charged particles responsible for normal functioning nerves and muscles.
Muscle cramping, GI distress, headache, muscle pain and an inability to maintain your pace, are all consequences of overheating and electrolyte depletion.
HEAT = SLOWER PACE as blood is shunted from your muscles to your skin to increase perspiration rate
HEAT = MUSCLE CRAMPING from the loss of electrolytes which disrupts muscle and nerve dysfunction
HEAT = BONK / HITTING THE WALL caused by a shift from fat burning energy production to carb burning, anaerobic energy production. The result is the depletion of carbs in your body and the severe slowing of your pace.
HEAT = CARDIAC STRESS Dehydration and the associated decrease in the volume of fluids in your circulatory system means your heart has to pump faster to get the same amount of blood to your muscles.
Electrolyte supplements are used successfully at every Ironman competition and endurance event on the planet for good reason, they are safe and inexpensive. Yet some inexperienced nutritionists fail to protect their athletes with sound science.
Strategies to BEAT THE HEAT! ( PRACTICE THIS WEEKEND ON YOUR LAST LONG RIDE)
1. Use electrolytes for your remaining workouts and up the salt content of your meals
2. Increase your plasma volume, the amount of fluids in your circulatory system, by drinking more water and diluted electrolyte drinks starting today.
3. Drink a gallon of water over the course of the day, EVERY day until the race.
4. Train in hotter afternoon temperatures to allow your body to acclimate to the heat.
5. Start slow and allow your body to react to the heat before picking up the pace.
6. Wear light colored clothing that shields more skin from the sun but allows air to flow freely across the skin to promote evaporation and heat loss. Do everything you can to prevent sunburn: Always wear sunscreen; choose jerseys, shorts, and arm skins with built-in sun protection; and wear a cap under your helmet to shield your head. Don’t forget the back on your neck which is exposed to the sun in the riding position. 7. Separate your nutrition from your hydration in your remaining training rides and on race day. To avoid the GI distress that comes from consuming too much Gatorade in an attempt to get all the electrolytes you will need, you must alternate between Gatorade and plain water with added electrolyte supplements. Your body can only process 18-22 ounces of fluid per hour. Don’t drink more, just add more electrolytes.
8. Adjust your pace: Temperature and Pace Adjustment Once the sum of the temperature in Fahrenheit plus the relative humidity gets above 130, dial power ranges back by about 10 to 15 watts. If you’ve been doing 15-minute intervals at 220 to 240 watts, that becomes 205 to 225, or reduce the efforts to 10 or 12 minutes. If you’re racing in steamy conditions, cut your warm-up time in half or more. And if you don’t track your watts, just dial back your RPE (rate of perceived exertion) a few notches—instead of riding at a 9, fall back to a level 6 effort.
PRACTICE THESE DOSAGES ON YOUR REMAINING RIDES:
The dosages suggested below are based on science based research and our direct experience with athletes when taken with plain water.
(Disclaimer: We do not sell electrolytes nor do we receive any compensation from these companies)
Endurolytes Capsules: 4 capsules every 30 minutes starting the first hour Supplement Facts (Amount per 2 Capsule Serving) Sodium 80mgChloride 120mgCalcium 100mg Magnesium 50mg Potassium 50mg Manganese 500mcg Other Ingredients: Stabilized Rice Bran, Ginger Root and Vegetable Capsules (plant cellulose and water). Salt Stick Capsules – 1 capsule every 30 minutes Supplement Facts Serving Size: 1 CapsuleEach Capsule Contains Sodium 550 mg Potassium 63mg Calcium 22mg Magnesium 11mg Chloride 350mg Vitamin D3 100 IU Other Ingredients: Vegetable cellulose (capsules), vegetable magnesium stearate, vegetable stearic acid (flowing agents) FYI: Where to buy Electrolytes:
REI in Santa Monica (402 Santa Monica Blvd)
For those that have an Amazon prime account, that is another great resource to ensure you have your supplements before race day.
Check Both REIs in the valley, REI in Northridge, and REI in Woodland Hills.
Be sure to pass these tips along to your cycling friends!