How Heat Training Can Boost Your Ironman Performance

Racing an Ironman or half Ironman is a challenging, regardless of the weather conditions. But if you train mostly in the cold or temperate weather, and race in the heat, there is an add level of difficulty. Proper heat training can help you perform at your best on race day and reduce your risk of heat-related illness.

One way to start preparing for the heat is to gradually expose your body to higher temperatures by training at times of day and in locations that are likely to be similar to race day conditions. If you normally train early in the morning or in cooler environments, try to incorporate some training sessions in the afternoon or in more humid locations. This can help your body adapt to the heat and improve your overall performance.

Incorporating a sauna into your training plan 3-4 weeks out from race day can give another huge boost to your heat training. This can be done right after workouts, or whenever is convenient (avoid a hard sauna session right before a workout though). Depending on the heat, and whether it’s a steam room or not, aim for 10-12 minutes starting out, and gradually build to 20-30 minutes. Take a bottle of water in with you, and make sure to rehydrate afterwards throughout the rest of the day and evening. Cut off all sauna training 7-10 days before your race.

It’s also important to stay hydrated during your training sessions. The heat can increase the amount of sweat you produce, which can lead to dehydration if you don’t replace those fluids. Make sure to bring water or a sports drink with you during your training sessions, and drink frequently to stay hydrated. It’s also a good idea to weigh yourself before and after a training session to get an idea of how much fluid you’re losing.

In addition to increasing your body’s tolerance to the heat, it’s also important to have a plan in place for dealing with the heat on race day. This might include wearing lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing, using ice or cold water to cool off, and even taking short breaks in the shade on the run course if your body is truly at its limit.

It’s also a good idea to be aware of the signs of heat-related illness, such as dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps. If you start to experience these symptoms, it’s important to stop and take a break in a cooler location. It’s also a good idea to have a plan in place for seeking medical attention if necessary.

Overall, heat training is an important part of preparing for a triathlon, and with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can perform at your best on race day. Remember to gradually expose your body to higher temperatures, stay hydrated, and have a plan in place for dealing with the heat on race day. For more heat training ideas, and many other training tips, reach out to the triathlon coaches at Be the Beast Triathlon Coaching today at


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