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  1. #1
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    Training for century in Hawaii

    I moved about 12 months ago to Hawaii where it's pretty much >85 deg all the time with relentless sun in the summer. I've started getting more serious about my training for an century in Sept. and have been getting bad headaches just about every ride over 20-30 minutes. Tylenol before and during rides helps some, but drinking more earlier and switching to sports drinks (at least 2 bottles/hour) hasn't really helped. I'm getting a little depressed about being able to ride for 6-7 hours in the middle of the day.

    The only "solutions" I've found are to keep my heart rate below 75% of max (which makes it somewhat hard to get in good training) and to keep my head as cool as possible. I've toyed with the idea of putting an ice pack in my helmet, does anyone have a more practical suggestion (wet headband or skullcap maybe)?. I'm also going to visit a sports doc and see if there's anything more seriously wrong with me, like high blood pressure or something.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Yes, very good idea to see a sports Doc. Find a bike specific one. Late night cycling and early AM for me too when it hits the 80s. When you get the heat and headache problems solved, consider doing hill work to save time, works for me.
    This space open

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHRacing
    I moved about 12 months ago to Hawaii where it's pretty much >85 deg all the time with relentless sun in the summer. I've started getting more serious about my training for an century in Sept. and have been getting bad headaches just about every ride over 20-30 minutes. Tylenol before and during rides helps some, but drinking more earlier and switching to sports drinks (at least 2 bottles/hour) hasn't really helped. I'm getting a little depressed about being able to ride for 6-7 hours in the middle of the day.

    The only "solutions" I've found are to keep my heart rate below 75% of max (which makes it somewhat hard to get in good training) and to keep my head as cool as possible. I've toyed with the idea of putting an ice pack in my helmet, does anyone have a more practical suggestion (wet headband or skullcap maybe)?. I'm also going to visit a sports doc and see if there's anything more seriously wrong with me, like high blood pressure or something.
    I agree that you should see a doctor, if only to rule out any medical problems.

    What sort of training are you doing, and how did you calculate your max rate?

    I think you should split your training into two parts:

    1) Endurance riding, which is done at a relatively low heart rate. For my endurance rides, I average about 70% of my 3-mile time trial average. For me, that's around 170 BPM, and I'm averaging in the 120s (usually the low 120s) during those long rides.
    2) Focused training at higher heart rates. That might be tempo rides (20 minutes or so near the lactate threshold), intervals (lots of variety possible here), or something else.
    Eric

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericgu
    I agree that you should see a doctor, if only to rule out any medical problems.

    What sort of training are you doing, and how did you calculate your max rate?

    I think you should split your training into two parts:

    1) Endurance riding, which is done at a relatively low heart rate. For my endurance rides, I average about 70% of my 3-mile time trial average. For me, that's around 170 BPM, and I'm averaging in the 120s (usually the low 120s) during those long rides.
    2) Focused training at higher heart rates. That might be tempo rides (20 minutes or so near the lactate threshold), intervals (lots of variety possible here), or something else.

    I try to do both longer easy and shorter hard rides. My max HR (highest I've ever seen, i.e. sprinting up long hills to exhaustion) is around 190, so on my long rides I try to keep HR under 75%-80% of that, or below 150. This should be in the neighborhood of your 70% of 3-mile TT I think.

    It's the tempo or hilly rides, where I try and ride between 150-175 HR that causes the head trouble. I guess I could just do the endurance training, but I'm looking to pick up my century pace this time around so I feel like I need to spend some time working harder. Maybe shorter but more numerous intervals would be the way to go, rather than just 20-30 steady minutes. Or maybe I just shouldn't try to do a fast century on a hot, steamy tropical island

  5. #5
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    To get faster you need to work on different energy systems, and stress them in any ways.

    Base training develops the aerobic system, and you need a lot of miles at a reasonable heart rate (you really shouldn't be stressed).

    On top of that, you do various intervals and tempo riding to push your body's capability to deal with lactate, push your lactate threshold up, etc., but that's icing on top of the base training. If you stress this too much, you can compromise your base fitness.

    If you haven't read "the ultimate ride" or Friel's (sp?) book, I'd suggest picking them up.
    Eric

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  6. #6
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Maybe this is too simple, but maybe you need sunglasses. You can get a nasty headache from the sun.

    Also, 85 degrees isn't really that hot. What I do on really hot days, over 95 degrees or very sunny & humid, is wet my jersey before I go out. It takes about 30 minutes to dry while riding and it helps to prevent me from ever getting too hot. Once you get overheated, it is very difficult if not impossible to cool back down while exercising.

    You could also bring an extra water bottle to rewet yourself. Also, if it is going to be really hot, I fill my water bottles half way and freeze them. I top off right before the ride. Being able to ingest cold water helps with staying cool.

  7. #7
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    That's what worries me - 85 deg. isn't all that hot to get headaches every ride. I do always use sunglasses, but I have troubles indoors on the trainer as well.

    All my med tests were normal so the doc is having me try Celebrex, which works really well if I take it before I start a ride. Not really a long-term solution though.

    I'll try the jersey wetting, and I recently got some insulated Polar bottles for cold water, at least for the first hour or so. The problem I have with more water dumping is that fresh water can be hard to come by along a ride and I hate to "waste" it. I'll just have to take a full shower when I do stop for water.

  8. #8
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    20-30 minutes even every day is not long enough to get acclimated to heat, let alone acclimated enough to exercise in it. If you work in an air conditioned office it makes the whole process much more difficult. If you are allowed adjust the AC so it doesn't come on until it's over 78 degrees. Whether you can do that or not you need to be doing something outside for at least an hour a day to get acclimated. Go hiking, take a walk, or just sit in the sun. If you are on Oahu don't use the AC in your car on your commute and that should be long enough to help produce adaptation.

    The best way to stay cool is get your body fat as low as possible. Below 8% and it's hard not to be perpetually cold until it's over 82 degrees. If none of that helps, and you aren't obese, get your thyroid checked because your internal thermostat may be out of whack.

  9. #9
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowandsteady
    Maybe this is too simple, but maybe you need sunglasses. You can get a nasty headache from the sun...
    +1 I saw the original post and that was my first thought.
    The search for inner peace continues...

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