Today I had my final exam for this semester. Which means as of right now I am on uni break so free to pursue all of those training and health goals as well as some of my less healhy goals (like spending some serious time with my Playstation). However before I settle into all that I am going on an adventure. For the next 2 weeks I am going to live and breath triathlon and of course being me I am going to go all in. In fact for the next 2 weeks I am going to train, eat and race based out of Thanyapura, the best triathlon training facility I have ever seen and the same location that some of the biggest names in our sport choose to train at. Over the next few weeks my blog is going to be a little different. I am going to attempt to update everyone semi-regularly on what I am doing. I really want to take the opportunity while I am over there to show you all how good it is. Now I know what some of you are thinking, Tim is an ambassador for Thanyapura so he probably has to do this. I assure you this is not the case and I am not doing it because I get anything out of it (I do get stuff out of being an ambassador) but I am doing it because this place is seriously good and I know that once people understand what a valuable resource we have so close to us, more people will want to train there.
But apart from the amazing facilities I am about to enjoy there is another big advantage to training in Thailand. This applies whether you are training for sport or just trying to get in shape. The thing that I like the most about training in Thailand is the heat. There has been ridiculous volumes of research on the advantages of heat training and I have neither the time or interest to read them or try to summarise them in my humble little blog. Instead as always, I want to write about my experiences in the past with heat. Both the good and the bad because lets face it, I have had my fair share of ups and downs in the heat.
When I was a little *cough* 'bigger' *cough* then I am now I loved the cold and hated the heat. Trust me when I say there is nothing worse than being overweight in the heat. Your clothes stick, you get rashes in the most inconvenient places and you sweat all the time. The cold however was never really a big problem for me. I grew up in the Blue Mountains and while it isn't the arctic conditions I eventually dealt with in Norway, it was cold enough. I played soccer in the winter and those late night training sessions meant I came to enjoy the cold. In fact in 2010 I was sent to Thailand for work and trust me when I say that going to meetings in a suit in that heat was horrid. It was embarrassing walking into the office and having to change my clothes because they were dripping wet. So when I decided to go for my first training camp and race in Thailand in 2013 I was worried about how my body would handle it. What I found however was that the heat did not bother me as much. While I still felt it and still got bloody sweaty, I could handle it. In fact I came to enjoy that feeling of walking into the heat and getting smacked in the face with humidity. When I did my first race in Asia it was Challenge Phuket and I made a decision to be conservative on the run. What I found was that I was actually able to run well in the heat while a lot of other people struggled. Mark my words, I was a lot slower than I am now. But I came to realise that in the heat, I did not need to train with the same intensity.
How can I give an example of this. When I was in Singapore this year in the lead up to Bintan, I went for a 10km run. Not fast, cruisy easy pace. This is a run I will do as a recovery run or as a very easy jog in the lead up to a race. When I got back to the hotel I knew it was hot, my face was red. But what I found most interesting was that the same workout that I could do every day of the week in Australia left me absolutely buggered. My Garmin said that my recovery time was 4 days!!!! Normally it will come back as maybe 5 hours. My average heart rate was also a lot higher than normal. What this lead me to deduce was that there were a lot more demands on my body when training in the heat. The basic idea of training is to put the body under stress then allow it to recover. This will lead to improvement. Science shows us that training in the heat allows the body to produce more blood plasma which in turn can improve your bodies VO2 Max but this is getting technical. Basically I found I had to do a less intense session to enjoy the same benefit as a harder session normally.
The other thing I really like training in the heat is that you sweat and sweat a lot. Now again there is nothing scientific about this but I always figure that if I finish a session and have done a lot of sweating then it means I must be burning a decent amount of calories. Last year when I was in Thailand for Supercamp, I ate like a madman and trained like one too. The people that I was over there with said they could noticeably see that I had lost weight. To me that must have had something to do with the increased temperature. I will say that while you are training in the heat it is important to make sure you stay hydrated and keep up your electrolytes. Again I fear I could venture into science a bit here and I don't want to do that. Basically what I have found in the heat is that I do not need to train as hard to have the same benefits as I would in normal temperatures and it is easier to lose weight because your body has to work harder to regulate temperature.
Not all of my experiences in the heat are positive. But training at a world class facility surrounded by a group of like mined individuals makes it a no brainer for me. There is of course the biggest advantage which I have not mentioned yet. The beer tastes so much better after a hard session in the heat. So stay tuned over the next two weeks as I try to keep you all up to date with what I am up to in Thailand. If you have anything in particular you want me to show you or focus on while I am there please let me know and who knows, I might even try putting the go pro to good use and making some video footage as well.
Thats it for me today!
Stay safe, get hot and remember to TRI!