Heat Acclimation Protocol

Suggested Heat Acclimation Protocol

I created this protocol based on an interview I did with George Dallam in episode 25.

Methods For Heat Acclimation

1. Wear additional clothing to cause additional sweating during training.

2. Turn up the heat and use a humidifier while training indoors.

3. Soak in a hot tub at 100-105 degrees.

Hot Tub Protocol 

For Peak Races

In the two weeks before your peak race progressively increase hot tub time to a maximum of 1 hour, or 50% of your expected race time.  For races no longer than 30 minutes an even shorter period may still be very useful.  Older and less experienced athletes should limit total time to 30 minutes.  Athletes with certain health issues should not try this at all. See warning below.

Start out at 15 minutes per day and increase by 5 minutes per day continuing right up to the day before the race, if possible.  Your time in the tub can effectively replace reduced training time during your taper without concern for local muscle fatigue.

Weigh yourself before and after using the hot tub and replace the total amount of fluids lost. The sweat lost during the hot tub session should be replaced gradually over a few hours.  Half-strength Gatorade is a good replacement drink, as is water if consumed gradually.  Drink 2 cups (16 ounces) of fluid for every one pound lost.  Drinking too much too quickly will cause water to be eliminated from the body via diuresis.

Preferably, hot tub exposure should be done after your workouts are completed.  This is especially true on days with more intense and longer training loads.

For Non-Peak Races

If an early season hot race is not a peak race, your training volume may be dropping very little in preparation for the race.  In this case your use of the hot tub should be reduced because of the extra stress placed on the body in addition to your regular training load.

Add hot tub exposure in the two weeks before your race starting at 10-15 minutes per day. Add 5 minutes each day, but total hot tub time should be capped at 30-40 minutes.  All of your hot tub exposure should be done after your daily training.

Pay attention to your recovery from training and hot tub use to make sure you are recovering and hydrating properly.  Training should take priority over hot tub use and hot tub exposure should be reduced or eliminated if necessary.

Hot Tub vs Sauna

A hot tub is preferable over a sauna when preparing for humid conditions because humidity in a hot tub is 100%.


Using a hot tub or a sauna is not without risk.  People with heart disease, high blood pressure, and other conditions could experience severe negative reactions.  Certain drugs, such as blood pressure medication, interfere with the normal response to heat.  Consult your doctor before using this protocol.  If you have any concerns about your reaction to a hot tub eliminate the procedure or reduce total time to a maximum of 20-30 minutes.

One thought on “Heat Acclimation Protocol

  1. Pingback: TT062: Hydration & Heat Prep From a Hot Ironman Lake Placid and Mont-Tremblant | Triathlete Training Podcast

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