Tips For Racing in the Heat (Ironman Coeur D’Alene will be 100 degrees!?)

This is reposted from our TriForce internal team forum in response to a team member’s post about the 100+ degree forecast for Ironman Coeur D’Alene.  If there is one thing we do well at TriForce, it’s race in the heat (we just had 2 AG winners, a 2nd place, a 3rd and an 8th at Honu 70.3 and we’ve had 2 athletes in the top 10 in their age groups at Kona in the last few years– not bad for a small team!)

kona heat

Coach Coady in the Kona heat on his way to a 9:15 finish.  Obviously, tip #1 for racing in the heat- wear a speedo!


1. DO SOME HEAT PREP STARTING NOW!   Search the G+ group for my name and “heat prep”.  The body rapidly makes adaptations when you can train in the heat.  “passive heat prep” (sauna, steam room) is helpful too (do both).   Easiest heat prep workouts: indoor biking w/ no fan + heater 6 inches from your head (just far enough your skin isn’t literally burning), running in wetsuit (lube up well).  My move to Oakland is killing me– I no longer have steam room access and it’s cool here almost every day (vs. Pleasanton), so I’ll have to take advantage of both of these options.

2. NUTRITION: like Theo mentioned, you’ll probably have to back off the effort once it heats up.  The body is diverting resources to (a) cooling; (b) digesting; and (c) going 140.6 miles at a steady effort.  There’s not enough resources to do all 3 at a peak level at 100 degrees!   So, pace / effort will have to go down.

3. SOLIDS: I’d suggest doing more liquid nutrition vs. solid once it heats up.  Some people find this easier to process in the heat.

4. COOLING: like Theo mentioned, cooling is key.  Every aid station on the run: ice in shorts, and in your hat if you have one.  Sponges are great too.  On the bike, get ahead of the heat by pouring water on yourself every aid station as soon as you feel warm (not hot)– get your clothes wet and squirt water in your helmet vents.

5. HYDRATION: obviously, you need to drink much more in 100 degree heat!   I’d target at least a bottle per aid station on the bike, then at least 4 bottls on the run.  Carrying a hand held bottle on the run will be more important in a race like this (vs. drinking tiny cups)

Finally, 100 degrees is CRAZY HOT.  Forget your goal time and goal run pace if it gets that hot.  It’s going to be a bloodbath and survival will be the name of the game!  All the rules about going easy, hydrating, pacing, etc. become even more and more important!   It’s going to reward people who are prepared.

About Coady

Lucky to be coaching some really awesome & fun people!
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