As Queenslanders, we're lucky to live in one of the greatest places on Earth. Constant blue skies, gorgeous beaches to swim (and train!) at, and some of the flattest cycle and run courses found in Australia. However, we're in the very middle of summer, and as the mercury continues to climb, it's more important than ever to stay safe and smart when training during the warmer months. Read on to discover our top tips for the best ways to beat the heat when triathlon training this summer.
- Get out early in the morning: With no daylight savings time in Queensland, the sun comes up at an insane hour at this time of year. Lucky for us, we triathletes see 4am as a sleep-in (unless we've been on the beers the night before). If you're willing to brave the pre-dawn wake-up call, set your alarm a bit earlier and head out for a long cycle or run session while the sun is still low in the sky. Not only will this mean that you can stay cool while training, but with an early start, you're likely to beat the post-ride crowds at your favourite coffee spot once you're done! Let us know where your go-to cafe is for after training breakfast - we're always on the hunt for great recommendations!
- Pace yourself: While we all love to daydream about beating Birtwhistle or gaining on Gentle, the heat and humidity out on the track can take its toll on our winter PBs and leave us feeling sluggish throughout summer. It's more important during the hotter months to make sure that we find a pace that works for us, and won't leave us feeling overexerted and dizzy partway through the session. If you're new to the sport and are still finding a pace that works for you, talk to your coach or others at your club to find out a way to train hard while not pushing yourself past a point that's safe for you. Listening to your body is always the smartest move, so if you feel heat exhaustion coming on, it's best to stop and recoup as soon as possible.
- Stay hydrated: It's every triathlete's worst nightmare; you've had a late wave start in an event that takes place in summer, and after a killer swim and bike leg, you start off on a scorching run. While you practiced in the lead-up in training, you weren't prepared for how hot it was going to be on the road, and upon approach to the first aid station, your thirsty mouth overtakes the sensible part of your brain and you chug as much water as your stomach can hold. Next thing you know, BAM!, water belly! While we don't want you taking on so much water that your training or times are affected, it's important to remember to stay hydrated when training throughout the hotter summer months. You get out what you put in, so taking on fluids gradually while you're out on the road will keep you in good form and well hydrated while not taking on more than your body can process. Try eating water-heavy fruit and veg after a session, such as watermelon or cucumber; a great way to stay hydrated while working towards your daily two and five!
- Brick sessions: Not only are they great for practicing transitions and endurance workouts, brick sessions can be used as a great way to beat the heat! By pairing a cycle or run session with a swim session to finish up, you'll be able to avoid the post-run sweats by cooling off in the pool or ocean afterwards! Even though you'll be in the water and you won't feel as hot as when you cycle or run, make sure you're taking on enough fluids during the swim, as you'll still be breaking a sweat in the water (and no matter how thirsty you are at the time, it's never a good idea to drink the pool water).
- Remember the five S's (slip, slop, slap, slide, seek): We all know how brutal the Queensland sun can be, so it's definitely a good idea to take all necessary steps to staying safe while you're out and about in the sun. We're all familiar with the Cancer Council's 'Slip, Slop, Slap' campaign that emphasises the importance of protective clothing, sunscreen, and hats, but did you know they've added two new layers of suggested protection? To protect your eyes from the glare of the road while you're out training, they suggest sliding on a pair of sunnies, and also seeking shade where possible. If you're facing a scorcher of a day, perhaps opt for an indoor or shaded windtrainer session rather than an outdoor ride, or even find a pair of tinted goggles to help protect your eyes from the sun while you're doing your laps (check out what our friends at Vorgee have to offer!). Remember; having fun in the sun is cool, but trying to sleep with a sunburn is not.
However you choose to train this summer, make sure you play it safe in the heat, and keep cool whatever way you can. Have a suggestion that we didn't include on this list? Let us know by giving us a shout-out at @triathlonqueensland on all social platforms!