When triathlon training in a hot country or racing in the heat, keeping heatstroke at bay is crucial

Triathlon Injuries - HeatstrokeWith so many triathlons taking place in hot countries, heatstroke is a constant danger to many professional triathletes.

But it’s not just those who train abroad who are at risk – you can even be struck down in the UK during the hot summer months, so those of us who train and race over here – whatever our standard – need to be wary of its threat.

At its worst, heatstroke can be fatal, and sometimes even a mild form of it can leave you hospitalised. Avoiding it isn’t just about applying sunscreen though.

Heatstroke – symptoms

  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Acute shortness of breath

HOW TO AVOID HEATSTROKE

  1. Allowing sweat to escape is key. Your clothing is crucial – wear sports materials that wick away sweat, and avoid synthetic materials that trap heat and perspiration. Ensure hats or helmets are well ventilated.
  2. Drink plenty of water and isotonic sports drinks, which often contain sodium and electrolytes, to replace salt levels lost through sweat. Make sure you drink fluids both before and after the race too.
  3. Pick up extra water on the bike to run through the vents in your helmet to keep you cool.
  4. Stay in the shade where possible and make use of cold water sponges and ice if on offer. Cooling your head, armpits, wrists and groin can be particularly effective at lowing your body temperature.
  5. Watch your diet. Avoid large, heavy meals in the run-up to your race, and eat a series of carbohydrate-rich, easily digested smaller meals. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as both cause dehydration.
  6. Acclimatise and make sure you pace yourself. If you’re racing in a hot country, arrive as early as possible, and stay within your body’s limits – if you go off too hard you’ll hit the wall quicker and harder.

Find out more about common triathlon injuries or read more about how to avoid triathlon injuries on TriRadar.