Nate discusses how to train smarter in the heat.

Show Notes


  1. Full-time coach in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Online.
    1. Coaching
    2. Pre-built training plans
    3. Napa Valley Training Camp
  2. Two other great coaches at DDA
    1. Matt Chatlaong
    2. Sam Bassetti

Why talk about heat?

  1. Many cycling events occur in heat
  2. Available training/exercising times often make heat unavoidable
  3. Training in heat might improve cool weather performance

Process Summary

  1. Exercising muscles release energy as heat
  2. Heat travels from muscle to blood, to core, to skin
  3. Offloaded via radiation, conduction, convection, and evaporation
  4. Evaporation through sweat our most effective tool at offloading heat

Tightening the Focus

  1. Several strategies to manage exercise in the heat
    1. Precooling (shade, cooling vests)
    2. Mid-cooling (ice socks, dumping water)
    3. Clothing selection
    4. Hydration
    5. Acclimatization
    6. Training variety

1. Hydration: The Why

Hydration: The How

  • Always start ride/race fully hydrated
  • For hot conditions, follow a modified “prescribed drinking” approach
    • Weigh yourself before and after hot rides, try to keep fluid loss to <2
  • Opt for a sports drink to replace electrolytes

2.  Acclimatization: The Why

  • Definition:  Exposure to a hot environment
  • Decreases core body temp, decreases HR, increased sweat rate and sensitivity
  • Heat acclimatization improves perforce in hot conditions, maybe in cool conditions.  Make it a priority
  • How?

Acclimatization: The How

  • Intense intervals or extended moderate (100m) best for adaptation.  Longer not necessary
  • Might lose adaptations as soon as a week to a month.  Use it or lose it

3.  Variety: The Why

  • Train in a variety of settings to prepare for varied event conditions
  • Live hot, train cool to maximize adaptations
  • Adapt to heat while maintaining cool weather training intensity.  Make variety a priorty
  • How?

Variety: The How

  • You must plan ahead to achieve training variety in the heat
  • Plan to ride at least every third day in the heat
  • Rotate hot ride objectives
    • Shorter intensity intervals
    • Moderate intensity (100 minutes)
    • Group rides

Variety: The How

  • In extremes, low to moderate only
  • Don’t lose sight of maintaining cool weather training intensity
  • Plan highest intensity rides during cooler temps

From fondos to road races, learn why our cycling coaching is among the best in the industry.

Further Reading

  • Staying hydrated on the bike: Does it even matter?
  • Wendt, D., L.J. van Loon, and W.D. Lichtenbelt, Thermoregulation during exercise in the heat: strategies for maintaining health and performance. Sports Med, 2007. 37(8): p. 669-82.
  • Stevens, C.J., L. Taylor, and B.J. Dascombe, Cooling During Exercise: An Overlooked Strategy for Enhancing Endurance Performance in the Heat. Sports Med, 2017. 47(5): p. 829-841.
  • Ruddock, A., et al., Practical Cooling Strategies During Continuous Exercise in Hot Environments: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med, 2017. 47(3): p. 517-532.
  • Guy, J.H., et al., Acclimation Training Improves Endurance Cycling Performance in the Heat without Inducing Endotoxemia. Front Physiol, 2016. 7: p. 318.
  • Guy, J.H., et al., Adaptation to hot environmental conditions: an exploration of the performance basis, procedures and future directions to optimize opportunities for elite athletes. Sports Med, 2015. 45(3): p. 303-11.
  • Corbett, J., et al., Adaptation to heat and exercise performance under cooler conditions: a new hot topic. Sports Med, 2014. 44(10): p. 1323-31.
  • Chalmers, S., et al., Short-term heat acclimation training improves physical performance: a systematic review, and exploration of physiological adaptations and application for team sports. Sports Med, 2014. 44(7): p. 971-88.
  • Lorenzo, S., et al., Heat acclimation improves exercise performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2010. 109(4): p. 1140-1147.