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.