This blog stemmed from a client's email query: 'I live in the UK where it is super cold at the moment. How do I prepare for your relatively hot Australian conditions?'
When you live in a cold environment, acclimatising for an event in hot conditions is incredibly difficult. In 2005 I was heading to the peak of Japan's summer for the World Orienteering Titles. It was expected to be >37 degrees celcius with humidity of over 90%. As I began preparing for the races, snow lay in a thin blanket across the lumpy paddocks of our family's farm in Tasmania. Without too much experience or guidance, I dusted off my bike, set it up on a friend's spin trainer by the hearth, stoked up the fire, shut all the doors, decked myself out in all my thermals & tracksuits, and began one incredibly uncomfortable 10-day streak of training.
Yes, if you do not have the luxury of arriving well in advance of your race, acclimitisation is pretty tough. Here are my tips:
Whilst it will not completely replicate the warmer race conditions, running in the middle of the day under sunshine will still help. Add a pair of leggings and a thermal top to increase the discomfort.
Then consider how you can replicate some of your race conditions. Just like I did over 13 years ago in front of my wood fire, ask yourself, 'what resources do I have available to me?' For instance, you can start to do things like running in a plethora of layers, even in the hotter gym environment on a treadmill. Warning, this style of training is pretty uncomfortable and you need to keep up your hydration if you are going to do this! I wouldn’t recommend it all the time, but maybe picking a 10 day period about 2-3 weeks before the event. Furthermore, if you never run on a treadmill, be very careful as the running gait does change slightly. You may be better off outside even if it is a few degrees cooler.
My final warning is, do not overly compromise on the quality of your training & recovery. You will need to factor in greater recovery durations as your recovery time will increase as the body is under greater stress during your exercise sessions.
Preparation for our athletic dreams requires a harmony of focused recovery combined with enough strain to see gain. Baby steps.
However, in the face of injury we need to respond quickly. Baby steps don’t suffice. When injury strikes, there is no such thing as ‘meeting in the middle’. We either want to listen to our body or we don’t. We either want to get better or we won’t. We must acknowledge the weaknesses that led to the injury. We must take responsibility for the road back.
Whilst it is imperative to hear the wisdom of the gurus around us, at the end of the day we are the ones who knows what is at stake. We are the ones who knows what our body wants to say to us… We set the dream. We take the steps. We reap the rewards.
These articles are a collection of my writing. If you have feedback or questions, would love to hear from you!