Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Heat Training

Heat Training for the Elite Tour
by Lon Haldeman

Since most Elite Tour rider are either riding indoor trainers or shivering though freezing outdoor rides it is hard to imagine ever being hot on a bike ride again. During the months and weeks before the Elite Tour one of the biggest factors of completing the Elite Tour will be the ability to ride in the heat. During the Elite Tour it will not just be hot during the desert. It could be burning hot and humid all the way to Savannah. During our last 1999 Elite Tour in July everyday topped 100 degrees. The only relief came from a series of rain showers in Tennessee when the cool drizzle increased everyone’s speed by 2-3 mph.

1. What is “Heat”?
I define “Heat” as any temperature 20 degrees warmer than what you are used to. I’ve seen riders come to Arizona Desert Camp from Boston in February and have trouble riding in the heat when it is only 75 degrees. If you have been training in 90 degree temperatures, then 110 degrees will feel hot.

2. How can you prepare for the “Heat”.
Your body is very adaptable if you give it time to adjust. Every hour you will be riding in the heat takes about one day of acclimation. That means you should only add about one additional hour of “Heat” riding per day if you want to avoid side effects.

3. How long does it take to acclimate?
In order to ride hard across the desert the first day of RAAM riders need at simulate those conditions for at least one week. Each day of training should include an extra hour in the heat. Additional training miles should be done for three hours at sunrise or sunset.

4. What if I don’t live where it is hot?
You can similar hot conditions in your training. Riding a trainer outside on a sunny 80 degree day without a fan will raise your core temperature to desert conditions. Remember to drink and use electrolytes. Do not dehydrate or over hydrate yourself. Just before RAAM 1985 Jonathan Boyer regularly trained with tights and long sleeve wool jerseys when everyone else was wearing shorts.

5. How do I know how much to drink?
Good question. Your body will change and adapt during days in the heat. That is why you need to acclimate gradually for at least one week. The concentration of salt will change in your sweat from cool to hot conditions. Do you have salt stains on your shorts some days and not on other days? Always train with an available fluid source and some electrolyte tablets and salty foods. Monitor how much of each you are taking. Adjust your intake ratio for the best results. This is an individual ratio that will change with heat and fitness.

6. Why does the Elite Tour only ride 128 miles the first day?
The first day from San Diego to El Centro is not an easy ride. Many PAC our riders have had heat problems during this section. They feel great the first 100 miles in the mountains and fall apart the final 28 miles across the low desert. Elite Tour riders should use this day to acclimate. Ride at an conversation pace. Get your fluid and eating routine adjusted. This should be at least an 8-9 hour ride for all riders. Get an afternoon shower and nap in a cool room at the motel. Have a good dinner (not pigging out). Allow time for a full night’s sleep. Every day of the Elite Tour should be treated as a recovery ride. If you are going to complete this ride you need to being recovering everyday.

Keep focused and stay healthy. More training hints will posted in the month ahead.


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