Last minute Heat Acclimation - Worth it or too high risk

I have a 4 day stage race (moto not cycling but it will be up to 5 hours per day of tempo effort plus sections of VO2/Anaerobic) starting in 2 weeks time. The race is in a foreign country and temperatures are likely to be 30-35C or 85-90F. I’ve been using TR for training in the week, and long moto sessions at the weekend.

I will be “in country” for 3-4 days prior to the race and have 8 days left where I could do some dedicated heat training. I’m not used to the heat and I normally avoid it like the plague. I only have 1-2 structured TR training sessions to use for this, the rest would be gentle recovery rides or heat sessions without training.


  1. Is it worth doing some Sauna time or Hot Water Immersion to either get some physiological adaptation or at least some psychological heat training in? Would 3-4 (max) give any benefit at all?

  2. This time before the race is supposed to be a recovery/taper week where I planned very little training. I’m pretty fatigued and planned to really rest and recover. Would introducing this heat stress be counter productive?

I really don’t want to figuratively (or literally) cook myself before the race, but I am more concerned about the heat than the distance etc. that the race covers.

I have done a lot of work on hydration and sodium intake (including a professional sodium test) so I am as well prepared there as I can be.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Even a moderate amount can be helpful, but it sounds like you’re already aware that if it’s smokin, you’re going to be hurting.

I think if you do some, it may take the edge off, but like altitude acclimation, heat acclimation takes time. If you’ve got time in your schedule to do 30 minutes to an hour every other day it will help some.

Just be very aware of the signs of heat stress, exhaustion, and stroke. Backing off and surviving is more important than pushing through and potentially doing real damage.

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Heat training works, and it seems you have enough time to pick up some adaptations. Manage that fatigue you mentioned. I’ve only done outside training, no comments on using a sauna or water immersion.

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Thanks for the input.

I have access to a sauna but it’s 10 mins from where I workout so was thinking of giving that a go.

However, today I tried some DIY heat training. It was only 20c (I guess 70-75f?) But I trained with the garage doors shut, no fans, and wore a thermal top. Holy hell, that was uncomfortable! It made the workout feel very hard when it should have been moderate to hard. My heart rate was 15 beats higher and I was leaking badly.

So I don’t know if it was enough to cause adaptation but it was certainly enough to make me jump in a cool shower not long after (probably a bad idea but we had guests for dinner).

I think I’ll use this method for the last three TR rides and hope for the best. I may get to the sauna but I doubt it’ll be following a workout.

Pretty sure the recommended protocol here is to just do Z2 rides and not anything with intensity.

I did some sauna acclimation last year in advance of SBT GRVL…think I did 5 or 6 sessions, getting up to ~30 min n length. Would end up getting my core temp ~102-4*, IIRC. What was amazing was that my temp would continue to go up another degree or two over the next 10-15 minutes after I got out of the sauna.


You can go lower than z2 in my experience. In the past I’ve done a bunch of weekend 2+ hour outside rides at 35-50% ftp, temps above 36C / 96F, and seen #ftp-gainz after 2 or 3 weeks.

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I recall reading a study about heat training recently. It basically said that you had to workout in the heat. Just going into a sauna wasn’t really enough to achieve much gain. Sorry I don’t have a reference handy but that is what I recall.

I am so confused. Is moto not short for motor?

Agree on the Z2 stuff but I had that SS workout and one more threshold to do before the rest week so I figured I’d see what happens with the fans off and a warm top… It wasn’t pretty.

Yes, Moto is shorthand for Dirtbike. But fitness is fitness (sort of) and the event is effectively a 4 day stage race with many hours on the bike. Heat is especially painful as we wear so much kit and cannot rely on much or any support from aid stations etc.

I was going to do another thread or at least send a message to the TR team about how even though I’m a crappy cyclist with a terrible FTP, TR has done so much for my fitness with the structured programs and the podcast where I’ve utilised a lot of the training principles and especially the “fuelling on the bike”. In fact, I’ve lost track of how much I’ve learned from the TR system. Even stuff around race management and psychology etc.


Ok thank you lol. I honestly was thinking anything from e-bikes to drag racing and everything in between :joy:

Yea if you’re doing jumps and stuff for 5 hrs I would imagine some sort of basic endurance training would be handy.

Haha… yeah Basic endurance is pretty handy.

This is a 70 minute time trial race:

This is a 6 hour training ride which involved a lot of stopping and chatting: