September 20, 2023
In David Roche's brilliant article published in TrailRunner magazine, he explores the research done on temperature in performance, and the active steps we can all take to taking deliberate action to help cool the body and improve performance. This applies as much to elite athletes as it does to anyone going light and fast.
Read the whole article here, but we pulled out the four cooling guidelines that you can apply:
If you watched the Tour de France this year, you probably saw riders spraying themselves down constantly. They’d even do it during hard attacks–launching up the road, grabbing a cold bottle from a team employee or a spectator, and dousing themselves vigorously before tossing the bottle aside. It was a wet t-shirt contest at 30 miles per hour.
The evaporative cooling mechanism has the dual benefits of lowering skin/core temperatures while being as refreshing as an ice-cold Zima. In your races, douse yourself like it’s your job, focusing on high-yield zones like the head, neck, and core. Just make sure you practice chafe protection with lubrication and strategic taping to prevent your nipples from becoming distant memories. Try to avoid spraying your shoes directly, and if you’re planning a #StayWet approach, don’t wear compression socks, which can pool water on your feet over the course of longer races.
In Unbreakable, 2nd placer Anton Krupicka was wearing nearly nothing, while winner Geoff Roes was wearing a white shirt that was constantly wet. I wonder if the difference that day was just a wardrobe choice. A light, reflective layer has two benefits: protecting the skin from direct sunlight and keeping the skin surface wet for longer. In temperate conditions, a normal singlet or shirt will be fine, but consider more when temperatures get above 85 or 90 degrees F.
A little ice goes a long way, and any approach to keep some on your skin works. It’s highly dependent on options at races and your clothing choices, so make individual decisions that make the most sense for you. I love hats in almost all conditions as a chance to put cold water or ice on the head. As it gets hotter, stuff ice wherever possible. If I coached more triathletes, I’d have them wearing spandex with accessible ice pockets, and I wonder if more highly-tailored options may come to running soon.
Once core temperature rises, it can be difficult to bring it back down, so make sure your race isn’t sabotaged before the start line. Pre-cooling techniques start simply, with making sure your skin and head are wet before getting to the start line. I am asking athletes I coach to get an ice vest to put on after their warm-ups, and that will be helpful for ultra aid stations too.
June 29, 2021
June 29, 2021
June 29, 2021
In our quest to be as light and fast as we can possibly be, it is always worth remembering that the mountains and unpredictable weather have the final say.
We chatted to Wildrunner, mountaineer and global adventure guy, Henko Roukema, who has pushed the envelope of self preservation at high altitudes and he has this sound advise...