Training for Race Day Conditions


Posted by Coach Liesl Begnaud

This month, I travelled to Peru and hiked a 14,800 foot Steep Mountain. In the past, living and hiking in Colorado, I had no issues with the altitude or strenuous conditions of the rocky trails.  However, after being in Florida at sea level for the last 9 months, I was NOT ready for the lack of oxygen at 14,800 feet!  As an athlete, it is important to train and prepare for the climate conditions as best you can for your upcoming race or in my case, hike! 

Know the possible water temperatures where you will race. Normally, this information can be found on the race website or local park company or city page where the race is located. 

If it will be cold, like Coeur D'Alene, make sure to have a long sleeve wetsuit, and consider a thermal swim cap, and/or booties. Be prepared and train a few times using this gear.

If you will be in a lake with a temperature that might be too hot to be wetsuit legal, prepare by swimming in open water a few times without your wetsuit and consider trying a skin suit. You may also want ear plugs and probiotics to fend off any bacteria in the hot water.

If you are training for an ocean swim triathlon and can get practice in salt water, make it happen. Swimming in salt water offers more buoyancy but oceans and bays also mean currents, waves and extra sodium. Try to practice in race conditions as best as you can to be prepared.

For the bike and run, plan to train in heat, humidity, cold, rain and/or wind conditions that could simulate possible race conditions. Expose yourself to these elements before your race.  Experiment with different electrolyte replacement products. I sweat out a ton of fluid in Florida where it is humid as opposed in Colorado where I barely break a sweet since it is so dry.  Everyone is different in different climates. Weather is one aspect of race day that can’t be controlled, so make it a priority to be ready for any weather condition that might arise.



If you plan to train at sea level and race in altitude, plan to acclimate 2-3 days prior to race day.  If the race course is hilly, train on hills.

These preparations will go a long way come race day and you will be ready for whatever situation mother nature offers to you at your next race destination!

~ Coach Liesl Begnaud

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