Heat Training for Western States

Anyone looking at races in high temps that they aren’t used to?

You could probably learn a thing or two from this write up on personal heat training for the Western States.

We’ve all been in races where we felt like we were wilting or just plain dehydrated, but prepping for a 100 mile race in some intensely high heat is another thing all together:

With the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run now only 16 days away, I’m in the throes of heat training. As most know, Western States is a very hot race, especially in the “canyons” section, and so it’s key to go into the event ready to handle temps well in excess of 100 degrees. I’m coming from Colorado, where we had our signature cool spring. Unlike those coming from other areas of the country, our natural conditions until now (it’s supposed to be 90 degrees today) have offered next to no opportunities for legitimate heat acclimatization.

That brings up a good point that people sometimes forget – acclimatization. Whether it’s heat or altitude or something else, it takes the body time to get used to the changes. You can’t just hit a new temperature area a couple of days before an event and expect your body to immediately adjust!

While I haven’t personally done training like this, I was interested in what it would take to help work your system over to prep for this type of heat:

Going into my Western States build up, while I knew sauna time would be a critical aspect, I didn’t realize how physically hard it would be. The actual time in the sauna isn’t what’s so hard; it’s how I feel the next day. More on that in a second. When I go into the sauna, it’s always with about 50-60 ounces of ice-cold water in hand. And I always make a point to drink both bottles while in the hot box. I try to pace myself so that I’m drinking at an even rate for the whole time in the sauna and take that last sip just seconds before leaving. I also make a point to take an S!Cap afterward to help replace lost electrolytes, and I have found that the S!Cap does make a difference. Heat Training for Western States

Getting the water back into your system and those electrolytes is very important for both safety and recovery.

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I don’t think I’ll be jumping into a race like this any time soon, but check out the link on the article above for more information about the effects of the training.