Surviving Hot Race Days

What do you do to take care of your body on hot racing days?

I’ve seen a few races cancelled lately due to the incredible heat. So it prompted me to kick off a topic for tricks and tips to help you stay (relatively) cool in hot weather.

Here’s what I know, add your ideas below…

  • Conditioning…Between events, and over winter it’s worth training a few layers of clothes when you are at the gym and working out in sessions a little longer than your races.
  • Hydration starts at least 24 hours before strenuous activity.
  • Having a basin of cold water to put your feet in between races is a great way to reduce your body temp.

Some other links/resources:

I’m thinking a kid pool that you could take to the track and park near the RV. That would be seriously cool.

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So I really zapped myself on Sunday. Despite staying out of the sun as much as possible and drinking mass amounts of water, I still got dehydrated.
I think where I went wrong was that I depleted my electrolytes and water alone doesn’t replace them. 5 days later and my pee is still pretty syrupy and nuclear.
So, instead of just bringing water to the track, I’m going to start bringing some pedialyte and make sure that I get a few bottles of that in me on hot days.


That’s a good point… you can consume so much water to the point that it washes the electrolytes and minerals out of your system.

Gatorade etc helps with that. Although “regular” Gatorade contains a clump of sugar, so you don;t want to be drinking that all day. G2 however, contains much less sugar.

Sorry to hear about your pee :smiley:

I used to do a huge amount of mountain bike racing and road bike racing. Energy bars drink etc is all a bit of b/s.

I just conditioning. Your base fitness is probably a bit low so the extra heat put a hurt on you.

Just water is fine. Eat a banana and a two pbj on wheat bread thru the day is all you need. Most of the fancy drinks dont do anything and generally not very good for you. If your doing a triathlon that different story.

I am still reasonably fit with resting heart rate of 58 and I wore a heart rate monitor to the track. The data logger thought I went running as a default! Heart rate hit 172 while driving in each session. We did around 80-90 laps that day.

Karting is on of those thing you dont realize but you need a pretty good base level of aerobic fitness. If your 16 years old it a different story but at 42 I need to train off the track otherwise I am pretty spent the next day.

Yep Sunday was weird. Normally I top out at around 160bpm but Sunday I hit 180. My resting is avg 53.
I was not winded, but it was more trying than usual (I work out regularly, mostly cardio).
I just figured it was because a) heat and b) running the long track a NJMP which is a mile and change makes for more strenuous race than usual.
I agree about sports drinks. As a kid I experienced massive cramping in the semis of a tournament in very hot Florida. Had to withdraw right before the “finish line” because I couldn’t stand up. This tournament had Gatorade as a sponsor so we had those big containers full of Gatorade courtside. Long story short, I drank Gatorade for the 4 hrs of the match (tie breaker each set, split sets) instead of water. Big mistake. All that sugar was a very bad idea.

I do agree that the fancy drinks are often oversold, but washing salts out of your body is a real thing for sure. It probably varies by the individual and their habits, but it’s something to be mindful of.

Three or four days in a row at the track is maybe not a triathlon, but it’s certainly enduring.

Banana is a good tip to help with potassium levels :+1:

Another suggestion that came in today…

Ice bag between the legs while racing really helps

I also raced motorcycles (dirt) & bicycles (everything) so that involved a lot of activity in heat (& cold)
I heavily agree with Jamie. Even down to the bananas.* The physiology as I understand it is when you sweat your electrolytes get depleted of water, making them thicker, then you become sluggish. You sweat out more water by percentage then any part of the electrolyte. It is just electrical resistance. Of course I could be wrong on this. Once you start working out daily and ‘get used to’ sweating you will find your sweat won’t be as salty. Plain water will get back in you system quicker than anything. Electrolyte drinks are more for after or before, not as much for during.
I find what you do the day before is OK but the 3 days before will make more of a difference. So start hydrating sooner and think long term. Same for food and sleep.

Any cooling where you can feel a pulse is pretty effective. Wrist, neck etc.

In karting I think we can get a little distracted as to how much effort we expended. I found in running or weightlifting it is obvious because it is boring. Something like dodgeball is way more fun and just doesn’t seem like a workout even though it is. Chasing a ball is enough to take you mind off of the work.

*I was eating bananas for the heat. I had a single kart accident and went off pretzelling a spindle and tie rod. Somebody asked if I found the bananas made a difference. I told them I don’t know about the heat but it sure seem to give me monkey grip on the wheel during the crash. What has helped me on grip is working on my grip, Learning how not to need grip and not cramping up. I feel my arm strength helped me in the crash.

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Sunday I drank almost a gallon of water within 4 hours starting right before the race @3PM
3 quarts from before practice to before final. 4th quart from after race until about 7PM.
I didn’t wait until I felt thirsty.

It works out to about a quart every 10 minutes of track time and the heat wasn’t as bad is it could have been.

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The having to constantly pee part of being “older” on race days sort of sucks. Enjoy your bladders, youngsters.


Plenty of water, bananas and air conditioning.

I installed a roof mount AC in my trailer last year. When it gets 100-105 to 110 at the track it can only cool so much. But even if it gets down to 80 it helps.
Also I make it a habit to get out of the race suit as soon as I get back to my pit. I usually have about an hour and getting back into shorts helps me cool down quick.

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Water and Shade(if possible) Make sure to be getting plenty of food as well. Gatorade is good for electrolytes.

Coconut water has been my go to drink for staying hydrated and curing hangovers. Some brands taste better than others.

Might also look into a nicer race suit. I didn’t realize how much of a blanket my old suit was until a friend gave me one of his old suits.

Anyone ever successfully, and economically, air conditioned an enclosed tent. I assume any reasonable portable or window ac unit would not be sufficient. I’ve seen massive ac units in outdoor wedding type tents — I wonder if anyone has attempted a cheaper version w success?

Window AC units are rated by BTU, and will usually list the square footage of a room it can cool. So, if you have a semi-sealed tent you’re working under, figure out the area and you should have a rough idea of how good or not it will be.

When I lived in the city we had a unit that cranked serious cold air. It wasn’t window mount. It stood by the window and your run a big exhaust hose out the window. That would definitely work in a tent. Not sure how efficient but it would be effective.

they definitely aren’t efficient because most tents aren’t insulated. That’s ok here, as long as you can get the cold air moving around. I think those self-standing units are pretty ideal for this type of setting.

Drink pickle juice mixed with water. Stay away from sugary “sports drinks”.

Pedialyte. In general it has much less sugar than Gatorade/etc. There is also an even lower sugar version called Pedialyte Advanced Care.

I race in Texas… and in the middle of the summer, it does wonders for staying hydrated.

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