How to Adjust to Racing in Heat and Humidity

"I'm flying in from Europe to race in Asia. How should I prepare when I arrive?"

Many times an athlete will prepare for the race of their lives, only to mess it up by doing too much just before the race. It’s even more complicated if you’re coming from a different climate. So what’s the right way to shake off long flights but still stay fresh for your race?

Team MaccaX member Lucy Richardson writes:

“I fly to Singapore and then on to Malaysia next week from the UK and have 9 days before IM70.3 Langkawi. My flight arrives at 3.30pm, should i do anything that afternoon/evening to get the legs/circulation going? And then is it just a case of easy sessions for the 9 days leading up to race, or should I try to do 1 or 2 longer/harder sessions, and any tips to get used to heat training/racing pretty quick. Thanks guys.”

Belinda Granger recommends:

“When you get to Langkawi don’t rush things: settle into your accommodation and then I would try and do a bit of a swim in the pool (if you have one where you are staying). It’s not so much a swim session but more a “roll-the-arms over, do a bit of kick and even just walking” in the water. Don’t think of it as a session but more to get the circulation moving and wake up some sleepy muscles and nerves. Go for a walk and get your bearings. But definitely no training session as such. Try and sleep as much as you can that night and the next day.

“Eat well and then try and do some easy sessions: a 30-minute run, put your bike together and go for a very easy spin.

“I have a little story for you. A very good pro athlete who is a good friend of mine recently came to Malaysia with me to race a half. On paper she was by far the best athlete on the start list. She had travelled all the way from the USA and she literally got off the plane and straight into some hard sessions. Long story short, come race day she led off the bike and then finished as last pro female. It was an eye opener for her.

“The next week she raced IM Taiwan. I told her not to do any real training sessions — just little bits of everything. She won! This is a woman who is full-time, crazy fit and very good; she just didn’t respect the elements and they kicked her arse. She learnt the hard way but came back with a vengeance.”

BONUS ROUND: how to deal with heat while racing

Noelle De Guzman
Noelle De Guzman
Noelle De Guzman is a freelance writer with ten years of experience in the field of fitness and wellness. She blogs at KikayRunner.com about endurance sport in the Philippines and beyond.