Is heat acclimatization worth the trouble?

Since I got back on the bike last year, and most of last summer was indoors, this is my first season dealing with the North Carolina heat. I typically do all my outdoor work first thing in the morning, when the temperatures are normally at 80 or below. However, my XC race wave goes off at 11:30, and yesterday it reached 90 mid-race (I know these are still well below what the west coast heat waves have seen in the last month). I definitely felt the heat- my power numbers were ok, but I wore down sooner than I usually do and just felt a bit off.

I still have at least 2 races left before the weather usually eases up in late September- should I move some of my weekend workouts to midday to try to acclimate, or am I better off training in the better weather and just focusing on extra hydration for hot races?

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In my honest opinion, yes, it is worth the trouble. But everyone responds to heat differently, and with only two “hot races” left it may or may not be worth the scheduling re-work.

But instead of moving your “workouts” (interval stuff) to midday, I would suggest moving your Z2 rides to midday if possible. Don’t turn every workout into a VO2 session (because that’s what it will feel like) in 90+ degree heat. Instead, I would reserve the hard stuff for the cooler mornings and focus on the quality of those workouts.

Then I would do your Z2 rides in the heat – and even think about doing Z2 by HR instead of power. You’ll notice a big difference in what you’re capable of at first, but eventually, you’ll acclimate. Then even your harder / race efforts won’t feel as bad when you’re doing them under the sun!


@coffee makes some good points!

And while racing, dont watch your power- just race!! Numbers can be mental. Go hard during your race and let the rest play out! Be sure to hydrate well going into the race and try to sip on your bottle during the race when you can!!


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I had the same thing happen to me. I train indoors on the trainer for a few rides a week, and I was not getting outside to ride that often in the heat. My last xc race was in low 90’s and I didn’t feel as strong.

In response, I’m shifting my thursday zone 2 day outside so I can get a little more acclimated, keeping the Tuesday SS ride on the trainer and doing the big weekend rides in a hotter part of the day.