Tips for Nutrition Adjustment in High Heat for Upcoming Race

With an upcoming 40 mile gravel race scheduled it looks dry and HOT.
How do you adjust everything - especially nutrition plan to cope with the high heat. :fire:

Could anyone share their experiences or tips on:

  • Adjusting calorie intake before and during the race :doughnut:
  • Balancing electrolytes and hydration
  • Any specific foods or supplements that aid in heat tolerance

I am pretty new to racing but not long rides.

PS: You can’t say test, otherwise I would. It literally has been cool up to this point of the year and then isn’t hot until the day of the race :smiley:

How dry, how hot? Salt in the bottle (healthy pinch. Taste it–too salty sucks). Keep one pure water bottle to dump on your legs and/or into your helmet. Put ice in all bottles, even though it won’t last. Pack ice on the back of the neck to run down your back, if possible. Eat a snowcone on the start line.

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Nylon sock filled with ice will keep you cool for a while.
My strategy:
I would not change any water/electrolite intake days before the race. You might need extra, morning of and during the race.

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Assuming you’re aiming to finish in 3 hours or less I wouldn’t do anything dramatic with fueling before or during the race - stick to the quantities and g/hour you are used to

That said - I’d make sure I had separated my hydration from my nutrition. That is - have a bottle with only water or only electrolytes that you can consume separately from your carbs

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Probably average humidity but full sun and 92+. The course does have some shading.

My current thinking was to hold the nutrition in place but increase the fluid intake some.

How much water would you drink on a normal day of training? Have you done the length and elevation of this same race before, or is it longer than your long rides?

I would do 30-40 oz per hour normally. I have done many rides longer than this (42 miler). But not races - stopping when you want to smell the roses will be different racing this distance.

Generally as heat and humidity increases gastric emptying decreases. You may have gut issues as the CHO is not as easily absorbed. This varies by person, but it’s typically recommended to go a bit less on carbs and increase water intake. Anecdotally, I typically consume 110g an hour and I’ll go down to 90-100g if it’s brutally hot/humid outside. Your event is not that long so you’ll likely be finished before any real issues can develop. However, if you were racing for 6+ hours in hot/humid conditions even less carbs may be needed. Your gut will be in charge and usually is not to shy about letting you know when it’s not happy.

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I don’t like sweet as much when it’s hot, so I use less flavoring in with my maltodextrine + sodium citrate water bottle mixture. And, keeping a bottle of only water or water/sodium can be beneficial (a squirt on your head or down your back can change your world view when you’re about to crack).

Starting with some ice cube in the bottle/hydration pack is a bonus if you can make that work. Don’t freeze water in the bottles unless you have some experience with that…it never melts as fast as you want it to when you really need it.

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As @trpnhntr said, I wouldn’t make any huge changes to your nutrition. Sounds like you’re on the right line of thinking with adjusting your hydration, though.

You’ll probably need to take in more hydration since you’ll be sweating more. An electrolyte drink, or even a healthy pinch of salt (as per @jlsazart) can be useful with that. Personally, I’ve liked using good ol’ Gatorade mix when it gets hot out.

While you may not be able to test in the real heat before the day of the race itself, you can still experiment with different electrolyte drinks leading into it! I’d say that would be worth doing so you can find something that tastes good to you and is easy on your gut. You definitely don’t want to find out that you don’t like your electrolyte drink of choice during the race!

Also, as other athletes have said, make use of nylon stockings with ice in them and cram as much ice into your bottles as you can – even if it’ll melt away pretty quickly. The longer you can stay cool, the better!

Finally, remember that everyone else will be dealing with this sudden increase in heat as well (assuming most of the folks racing are local to you). The playing field of the race will at least be “equal” in the sense that nobody will be super well-adapted to the heat at this point in the season.

Here’s a TR article we have on riding in the heat that might help you out as well:

Hope this info is useful! Feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions and good luck in the race!