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Fitter & Faster Podcast: Training and Racing in the Heat

How do you handle the heat? We answer this—and plenty more—as we discuss the physiological and psychological factors leading to successful heat acclimation.

Welcome to Triathlete’s training podcast, Fitter & Faster, where we cover one training topic in-depth each month—from the basics to your questions, plus all the gear you need.

Fitter & Faster and all our Triathlete podcasts are now on one feed, so you can get all your triathlon news in one place. Be sure to subscribe to our Triathlete podcast feed so you don’t miss anything: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Spotify | iHeartRadio

You can also listen to past Fitter & Faster episodes with Dr. Stacy Sims, Jay Dicharry, Dean Karnazes, Matt Dixon, cycling guru Matt Bottrill, sports psychologist Jeff Troesch, ageless wonder Dede Griesbauer, coach Ryan Bolton, and plenty more.

In this episode of Fitter & Faster, we chat with Dr. Stacy Sims about the physiological and psychological factors surrounding successful performance in the heat. There’s no escaping the fact that races are getting hotter and it’s never been more important to arrive at the start line of a race feeling prepared to tackle the heat and humidity. Dr. Sims—whose own interest in thermoregulation resulted from struggling at hot races one too many times—chats with us about what happens to your body (and mind) as temperatures rise, and the best ways to prepare yourself for this. We discuss different approaches to acclimation, including a sauna protocol which she uses with many top athletes, and common symptoms you might see and feel.

We chat through different race-day options for keeping yourself cool, including hydration and fueling, ice sponges (where to put them and where not to put them!), and cooling vests. And ultimately, we conclude that racing well in the heat isn’t all about physiology, as Dr. Sims puts it: “It’s not always the fastest, fittest athlete that wins in the heat—but the smartest, most intelligently prepared one.”

Related: Racing in the Heat: Here’s How to Deal

Later in the show we chat with our resident gear guru Chris Foster about the gear and gadgets he believes can help you train and race well in the heat, some of which is high tech, but some of it will surprise you. He also gives us insights into gear he knows helped some athletes execute great performances at the recent Ironman Coeur D’Alene (check out champion Sam Long’s inside story here), where the temperature hit triple digits and there was a marked difference in performances between those who were well prepared for the heat—and those who were not.

Related: Ask A Gear Guru: What Are The Best Summer Tri Essentials?