It was! However, the climate did pose some interesting challenges from a race perspective, including a few ultra-important fueling considerations. Our winter training temps here in Arizona ranged from the 40s to the 60s with non-existent humidity. Conversely, Los Cabos (on race day) exceeded 90 degrees, with humidity levels in the 50-60% range. Athletes traveling from colder climates than Arizona (most of the country) were in for even more of a temperature shock. How does your body respond to major swings in environmental conditions? Even more importantly – how does it impact your nutrition plan come race day?
Give this question some consideration before your next race and help prepare your body with these tips:
1) Hydration is vitally important year round; however, heat and humidity require greater fluid intake than cooler climates as your sweat rate increases. Research the location of your race and prepare properly by increasing fluids if you are racing in heat/humidity. An excellent indicator of hydration status is urine color. If your urine is lemonade colored, you’re good. If it’s apple-juice colored, better DRINK UP! A general rule of thumb is 16-24 ounces of fluid per hour. This number could go up or down depending on climate.
2) Electrolytes go hand-in-hand with fluid. If you're increasing fluids consumed, electrolytes must be reciprocated. In heat, your sweat rate is increased and you are losing precious sodium via sweat faster than you can snap your fingers. Electrolytes must be replaced quickly to keep the body in check and muscles functioning efficiently. Be careful though -- increasing salt intake drastically from one climate to the next can create GI distress and other unpleasant effects. Gradually increase electrolyte intake during training to match what you will require on race day. Electrolyte supplementation can be achieved in a variety of ways, through “real” food sources like bananas and pretzels, with sports drinks/powders, through Salt Stick or Hammer Endurolyte capsules, and via sports products like gels, chews, and bars.
3) Racing Fuel Type: The foods you train with in 45-degree January weather may or may not cut it in 90-degree March weather. The solution? Have alternatives. Try out many different fuel types during training – sports drinks, powders, sports gels/chews, bars, and real food items. Don’t try new things on race day; reserve the experimentation for training.
Much of the fun AND frustration of race day is the unknown. Many things are out of your control, and let’s be honest, that’s part of what makes crossing that finish line so darn impressive. What you can manage is your fueling preparation and experimentation during training. Research your upcoming race – the average temperatures, the humidity, the types of fuel available on the course – and use that information as a starting point. This preparation points you toward a successful race day, regardless of conditions!
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Interested in a FREE 30-minute nutrition consultation through Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching? Contact Brooke to reserve your appointment today.