While in Eugene for the 2011 USA Championships, I attended the “Maximizing Performance at Major Championships” coaches clinic. The clinic included presentations by Dr. Robert Chapman on altitude training, by Andrea Braakhuis on hydration and nutrition strategies while traveling, and by Dr. Randy Wilbur on preparing for heat and humidity and what to do to reduce jetlag.
Although most of us do not have a big race sixteen time zones away in the heat and humidity of Daegu, South Korea later this summer (average temperature 86 degrees, average relative humidity 79%), there was one tip that all of us: the elite international athlete, the middle of the pack runner, and the novice runner, can apply. That tip has to do with cooling strategies. If you are reading this on July 11, you can try it out for free.
Keeping ones body core temperature from rising is important for maximizing performance. If the body’s core temperature gets too hot, blood is re-directed to the core to cool the body. That means less blood and thus less oxygen carrying capacity is available to the muscles in the legs. Dr. Wilbur reported on a recent study that showed that an effective and easy way to cool the body’s core temperature is to drink 28 ounces of an ice slurry drink slowly over a 30 minute period prior to competition or training. It turns out that an effective cooling strategy is found in a drink most of us know as a Slurpee. Plus, every year on July 11 (7/11), Seven-Eleven offers free Slurpees.
If it’s hot where you live or even if it’s not, why not give it a try, it’s much cheaper than a $220 Arctic cooling vest. Tell the clerk at Seven-Eleven that Dr. Wilbur of the United States Olympic Committee sent you.