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The Importance of Keeping Cool

Heading off to a hot race? Consider your temperature, it'll make a big difference to your performance.

Temperature awareness is getting big in triathlon. You might have seen the funky new headbands sported by the pro's in Kona and other big, hot races.

What happens if you get too hot?

  • You'll slow down

  • You're more likely to DNF

  • Negative health outcomes; heat stroke, dehydration, stomach cramps etc

What's more, you don't need to be REALLY hot for a negative outcome to hit. Just small increases in your temperature will cause big differences to your performance.

Studies show that for marathon runners, temperatures above 10C cause slightly slower times and more DNF's, approaching 20C then the average times decreased by a whopping 30 seconds per mile for 3hr15min marathon runners - that's huge!

A 2012 BJSM review showed the following;

  • 5.7% performance improvement from pre-cooling

  • 9.9% performance improvement by cooling during the event

So in summary, don't get too hot!

Practice and research cooling strategies;

  • long sleeves with a cooling technology

  • wearing a heat reflective colour

  • adding vents in your helmet (vents might not be as aero but you could lose more time through being too hot than you would lose in the aero benefit being removed).

  • wearing a full hat to keep the sun off of your scalp

  • filling your cap with Ice

  • putting ice in key places to keep you cool - head, groin, chest, hands

  • keeping hydrated

As a side note, getting too hot can play havoc with your digestion too, so caution on the nutrition front!

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