the half-marathon. However, despite being frozen and placed in a foldable cooler, the 5 p.m.
Friday bag check-in time at Kona meant that
when I pulled them out at 1 p.m. on Saturday
to start the marathon, they were only slightly
cool, offering no advantage over dousing myself with ice water at the aid stations, so I opted
to leave them in transition. If you plan on using
these types of heat hacks during a race, make
sure you can get access to your run bag on
race morning, and also pack a cooler with ice.
SAUNA AND STEAM ROOM
➠ Purpose: To enhance heat acclimation dur-
ing colder climate training.
➠ Results: For three weeks before the Ironman
70. 3 World Championships, I supplemented my
relatively cool training in Spokane, Wash., with
sitting in a dry heat sauna for 20–40 minutes
three to four times per week. I repeated this pro-
tocol for three weeks before Kona, but primar-
ily used a steam room instead, to simulate the
more humid environment. Compared to previ-
ous races without sauna or steam room prepa-
ration, my mental and physical heat tolerance
was significantly higher.
brand called “Athlytes” during Kona—if for
nothing else, the placebo effect. I took four
capsules per hour and experienced no
cramping at any time during the race. It’s important to note that I also did not experience
any cramping in my previous races without
➠ Purpose: To reduce gastric permeability
and stomach distress in hot weather.
➠ Results: I used a brand called CapraColos-
trum for three days before the race, with two
capsules in the morning, two capsules in the
evening, and two capsules thirty minutes before
the swim start. I experienced no gastric distress
during the race, and this is a welcome change
from slight stomach cramps on the run during
my previous three races in Kona.
➠ Purpose: To allow the skin to breathe.
➠ Results: The “Scape” brand that I used left
no feeling of clammy skin and no significant
sunburn marks post-race. If you plan to use
your own sunscreen for Ironman, be sure to
apply it before the swim, and then keep a bot-
tle in your swim-to-bike and bike-to-run bags
for touching up during the race.
PALM-COOLING GRIP AND
➠ Purpose: To cool the body during the first
90 minutes of the run.
➠ Results: At the hot Ironman 70. 3 World
Championships event in Vegas, I successfully
used both the Arctic Heat body-cooling vest
and BEX palm-cooling grip to keep my body
temperature feeling significantly lower during
➠ Purpose: To enhance core cooling.
➠ Results: In T2 I chewed through two entire cups of ice before leaving the transition
tent, and continued to chew up to a full cup of
ice every two miles during the marathon. I felt
significantly cooler for at least 60–90 seconds
with each dose. Although that period of time
may seem short, twelve separate 60–90 second periods of enhanced core cooling during
the marathon is actually quite significant.
While no single heat-hack listed above produced any shocking or magical surges in performance, their combined effect surely influenced
my ability to complete two high-temperature
races with relatively low heat discomfort. Using
these devices may seem like a logistical annoyance, but especially for cold climate athletes with
limited ability to prepare their bodies for hot conditions, I would consider the use of heat-hacks a
crucial addition to the triathlon toolbox.
Ben Greenfield will continue to test heat-hacking devices during winter races in Jamaica,
Las Vegas and Thailand, and we’ll report any
significant developments in LAVA. Watch a
video of how he hacked the Kona heat at la-vamagazine.com/heat-hacks