General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Heat acclimation for cool weather? Rss Feed  
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2013-11-05 8:21 PM


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Subject: Heat acclimation for cool weather?

I did an interval workout on the treadmill indoors today. It was hot. It lead me on a train of thought that I haven't really been able to find a satisfying answer for.

I was wondering if there are benefits for acclimating to heat for cool weather running.

I found only one study specifically addressing this: http://jap.physiology.org/content/109/6/1736.full. This was in 2010, and I could not find anything more recent, but it had interesting implications. The issue with the study is that it's subjects were elite cyclists, and that they are physiologically different than most of us to say the least.

Heat acclimation has specific physiological adaptations that allow you to physically perform better in heat, including:

Increased sweat rate and earlier onset of sweating.
Increased plasma volume.
Decreased heart rate.
Decreased core temperature.
Decreased perceived effort.
Decreased sodium concentration in sweat.

Considering the above list, and using a bit of intuition, it seems like there is quite a bit there that could benefit cool weather running, or any other endurance activity for that matter. Even in cooler weather, your core temperature does rise with a prolonged effort, and keeping it down would be a good thing. Increased plasma volume with sodium chloride retention will decrease the strain on the heart, which would lower heart rate, which then translates to a decreased perceived effort. That sounds pretty good to me as well.

I haven't done an exhaustive search on the topic, and was wondering if anyone else has more info on this, or even has tried something like this before?








2013-11-05 11:48 PM
in reply to: ImSore

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Heat acclimation for cool weather?
I am going to spin this around and go the opposite direction.

Heat training needs to be structured into your workouts. When you do workouts to acclimate you are putting more stress the usual on your body (heat). This can really sap your energy and make your recovery a bit more difficult, or longer. The key here is to recognize this and plan for it, so plan your heat sessions accordingly. Also don't over do the heat training. Follow it up with an easy 24-48 hours.

Lots of people ride their bikes in the bathroom with the shower on before Kona, but some take it a bit overboard and fry themselves before the race.
2013-11-06 12:51 AM
in reply to: ImSore

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Subject: RE: Heat acclimation for cool weather?
HEat training is the new altitude training.

Heat acclimitazation has been shown to improve Vo2 max compared to no heat training.

Various protocols exist.
2013-11-06 4:39 AM
in reply to: AdventureBear

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Subject: RE: Heat acclimation for cool weather?
REALLY?? So I should be a Vo2 max machine! Honestly, I have never noticed that I have more of a training effect here in Vietnam. I feel like the heat saps my energy and keeps me from training at a faster pace, particularly for tempo runs and long repeats. My limiter when running hard tends to be nausea, which I assume is due to my HR pushing high partly due to the heat. Perhaps there is some training effect, but I'd have to race in a temperate climate to enjoy it?

I'm wondering, though, about the plasma volume thing. It's my understanding that because of the greater plasma volume, an athlete who constantly trains in the heat would be functionally anemic, because there's the same amount of red blood cells in a greater volume of blood. I believe I've discussed this with a doctor here--my actual iron levels are normal but they look low on one test because of high plasma volume. How could this aid performance in temperate weather? Is there some kind of rebound that occurs? Or one gets used to training with impaired oxygen uptake, so the same effort feels easier when those values return to normal? Please forgive my scientific idiocy!
2013-11-06 6:56 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner


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Subject: RE: Heat acclimation for cool weather?
Originally posted by Hot Runner

REALLY?? So I should be a Vo2 max machine! Honestly, I have never noticed that I have more of a training effect here in Vietnam. I feel like the heat saps my energy and keeps me from training at a faster pace, particularly for tempo runs and long repeats. My limiter when running hard tends to be nausea, which I assume is due to my HR pushing high partly due to the heat. Perhaps there is some training effect, but I'd have to race in a temperate climate to enjoy it?

I'm wondering, though, about the plasma volume thing. It's my understanding that because of the greater plasma volume, an athlete who constantly trains in the heat would be functionally anemic, because there's the same amount of red blood cells in a greater volume of blood. I believe I've discussed this with a doctor here--my actual iron levels are normal but they look low on one test because of high plasma volume. How could this aid performance in temperate weather? Is there some kind of rebound that occurs? Or one gets used to training with impaired oxygen uptake, so the same effort feels easier when those values return to normal? Please forgive my scientific idiocy!


Always training in the heat would stress the body more, and probably be a limiter for the hard efforts like you said, however, just doing 8 to 14 days to acclimatize yourself before a race wouldn't really affect your overall training preparedness but give you some of the potential benefits.

As for the expansion of plasma volume causing anemia, it would dilute the red blood cells, but my guess is that in many cases, it does not dilute it to the point of anemia, and the benefits from the reduction on the workload of the heart would outweigh the decrease in red blood cell concentration.

I did find this one study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Hypervolemia+and+Cycling+T... again with cyclists, and not a very large one, but it showed performance boosts with just increasing only the blood volume, and not the red blood cells.

One thing to consider though, the anemia potential would probably be more of an issue with women.
2013-11-06 7:08 AM
in reply to: ImSore

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Subject: RE: Heat acclimation for cool weather?
Yes, because our normal range for hemoglobin is lower. The doctor I spoke with wasn't worried about it from a health standpoint, he just said that was normal for someone who trained a lot in the heat and my iron stores were normal, but he speculated if it affected performance (not an athlete himself).


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