To take on an ultra-endurance event, you’re going to be asking a ton of your body. Not only are you asking it to put up with countless hours of stress and strain, constantly digesting food while concentrating through the night, but you’re going to be doing this in any weather conditions.
When preparing for a race, most people will cover the obvious: physical fitness, mental robustness and correct nutrition while ensuring they get a lot of rest. This prepares you for many factors in the race such as the distance, elevation gain and terrain. However it misses factors that are out of your control during the race – like the environment. High heat, Baltic temperatures, heavy rain, thick snow, allergens and pollutants are all capable of ruining the race of even the fittest of riders.
The human body is remarkably adaptable and can overcome just about every environment. If you’re looking to take on Strathpuffer in January or This is Not a Tour in June – your body can adapt to work more efficiently in whatever weather you throw at it. Whether this is by increasing your Brown Adipose Tissue to generate more heat or releasing less salt when sweating. These small differences can make you more comfortable and allow you to ride harder.
Acclimation will not only reduce the physiological strain during your event / race but will also help psychologically.
We are all familiar with top-end training at higher altitudes to make use of the bodies responses. Unfortunately, we can’t all afford to get away to the mountains to train for 6 months! There is a lot more we can be doing for our bodies to become more efficient. Better yet, this doesn’t have to be a ton of work – the body is designed to adapt to given stimuli. Minor changes in when and where you ride can be enough to force these adaptations.
Acclimation vs Acclimatisation
The difference between acclimation and acclimatisation is not how the body changes, only how you invoke that change. Acclimatisation is the passive process, where the body changes naturally to suit a new environment. Acclimation is the active process of changing your training to trigger the physiological changes. This section talks about how the body adapts to hot and cold environments and what we can do to help our bodies become more efficient.
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