Hot weather nutrition and hydration

I’ve got 2 big hot weather events this year and would love to discuss some nutrition details, particularly from maybe those who spend time in more tropical climates, and especially those who might not live there full time to hear adjustment concerns…

Being a northerner, one of my big challenges will obviously be the heat and sun.

It seems that there hasn’t been a recent discussion on race nutrition and the product landscape has changed significantly in the last few years. I was formerly a Hammer guy but my recent experiences have led me to conclude that their products dont hold up to the heat as well as I will need them to. I have experienced a good deal of fermentation in the sun in a short time from preparing. That won’t work here…

My interest is your experiences with the various sports nutrition products out there now….

I’ve been using Flow products with a bit of success in the last year, am not as happy with taste/ aftertaste… but I have recently begun using Maurten Hydrogel in both drink and solid form with very good success early on… Im hopeful!

What has worked for you? And if you’d like to share, what DIDNT work…

I’m most interested in hearing about shelf life from activating/mixing, mix ability/settling, absorption, as well as outcomes. What are using them in conjunction with, food wise?

I’ve always just used plain old Gatorade. It works for me so I haven’t experimented too much. For food during a race like the EC (not in the summer but it was mid 80s the two years I did the race) I mostly ate dried mango and Clif bars, with a Boost Plus for breakfast and another for dinner (go easy on those if you’re not used to them - not a good thing to chug!). I definitely need more protein for the next race though as I was craving it by the 3rd day.

Sorry I can’t be of more help than that. My system is somewhat picky so I stick with what I know I can get down and what works for me.


Thanks, I appreciate you sharing!

Maybe @gstamer will chime in?


Back in the late 90s, I used to do endurance bike races (mostly mountain bike). 50 milers, one 100 miler, multiple 8 and 12 hour races (generally laps of a course that would take 30 minutes to an hour per lap). Slightly different duration and intensity to the TWS, but perhaps some of the info could help.

Most of our races would have resupply points where you could have food stocks of your own to grab from. I would have prepared in a cooler at least twice as much drinks and energy food as I would need, in a variety of formats. One of the challenges is getting enough food and drink down, and at some point my body would just say no to one type/flavor or another, so having other options to choose from was required.

Gatorade, Caffeinated non-diet sodas sodas like Coca Cola, and water where common drinks. I have had trouble with Gatorade if that was all I was drinking - my mouth would seem to get too much sugar in it and felt like it was foaming, making it hard to drink/eat. Alternating between water and Gatorade seemed to fix this. Watering down the Gatorade might also.

For the warmer weather events, finding a way to have cold drinks made a huge difference. Did one 8 hour race in Sonoma wine county and the temps reached 105f in middle of that day - I still remember how much I looked forward to the cold can of Coke just before my last lap.

For food, much of my calories would come in the form of gels, like Clif Bloks. I would have more solid food options around. Bars, sandwiches, fruits, and other foods that I new I could eat under race conditions. You need to figure out what your body is willing to eat under race exercise conditions. Best to work up a schedule where you eat every 30 minutes or something like that - don’t wait until you are hungry.

Not sure if I needed it or if I was replenishing enough on my own, but during the more extreme events (longer events or events in hotter conditions), I would often take a salt tablet partially through the event.

Advil was regularly taken as we got into an event, as I knew my lower back would act up after a few hours.

1 Like

While I’ve not been a competitor, we aging folks do feel the heat more than in our younger years. I noticed that longer distance paddles on sunny waters were leaving me wiped out at the end of the day where they didn’t used to. Same with century rides on hot muggy days.

I started carrying a bottle of Skratch Lab hydration products in addition to my water. Really made a difference on hot/humid days. Occasionally use their recovery drinks if I overdo on back to back paddles or particularly strenuous century rides.

I like that the owners are both professional cyclists who got tired of stomach distress triggered by most of the goo and drinks that are on the market.

Wide variety of products and flavors, no unhealthy ingredients and the guys are good at communicating with customers, troubleshooting your specific situation and making recommendations.


This! On the second night of the EC last year I arrived at Wiggins Pass around sunset. There were 3 other WaterTribers there and we were all craving soda badly! I did get one the next day when I stopped at a restaurant for a fish sandwich. Next year I will stash some small bottles of Coke throughout the kayak!

1 Like

When I know a hot paddle is coming , I have a Coke on ice at the take out for me and a partner.
I know that sugar and phosphoric acid are not a good combination but it will add some energy for the ride home.

1 Like

Interesting you mention this brand, my wife has been experimenting with some for running

Whatever nutrition & liquids/electrolytes you choose, practice consuming those. Too many friends have had issues during endurance events from not practicing with what you will consume. As you will be on a multi-day event, some of your intake needs to be solids also.

Personally, I do not like any caffiene when I prep for or participate in endurance events, i.e. triathlons including Ironman distances, multi-day bikes, marathons, distance swimming, or distance paddling. Electrolytes and carbs are my fuels other than regular meals.


Yes I would never add something new during an event, that’s great advice. We are doing a full trial run a month ahead of the main event which is why I’m soliciting any extra input now, and any successful decision will be put into play for a shorter race a couple weeks before.

I recall the grocery stores being stripped clean of pasta in the days leading up to the Lake Placid (NY) Ironman,

A lot of companies sell electrolytes that you add to water. Never tried Skratch Lab or Clif but they are supposed to be good. I’ve used Nuun tablets, work well and not nearly as sugary as Gatorade.

1 Like

Been experimenting a bit with Saltstick fast chews a bit also

And, just like the old “swamp coolers”, our body’s evaporative cooling system (sweat) doesn’t work well in high humidity.

Start with clothing to keep the sun off, brimmed hat, long sleeves.
Find a way to keep water cool so it is palatable. You can add electrolytes.
Fruit is good like bananas. Potassium and fructose.
Bring some salt.
Sometimes it is best to pump water from a lake or creek to drink because it is a cooler temperature.

I have run crews in intense hot weather for weeks at a time. Learn the signs of heat stroke and sun stroke. I have had people crap out on me and be done for the day. Don’t let that happen in a race.

1 Like

I live in Texas and use to race cross-country dirt bikes and there were days when the last races would happen shortly after lunch and it’d be over 100. Hydration was paramount. Found out Gatorade straight would give me gut rot in that heat. Did the same to a bunch of my friends but others had no problems. G2 helped. Now I use the electrolyte packets from Wal-Mart (Propel or the WalMart brand) with No Salt Sodium Free Alternative which is a salt alternative but it’s basically potassium. It’s been a life-changer in the heat. 1 packet of Propel and a 1/4 teaspoon of No Salt in a 32oz Nalgene bottle, and 1/8 tspn of sea salt and I’m golden. Really quenches my thirst too.
For food I try and stay light. Fruits, granola, bananas, yogurt, mixed fruit cups, gels but I make sure to eat a giant pizza the night before. lol


In the 90s I used to do long road bike events in Florida Summer.
Gator Aide was good if diluted to 50% with water. Otherwise , full strength, it could upset your stomach.

Water with a touch of lemon or lime can be a good refresher. We old cruisers now have it on ice at the take out for recovery .

Tech clothing that drys quick aka evaporated fast is good for sun UV protection. I also take a gloved hand full of water and splash the chest. Even better is dunk hat in water and put on head. Evaporation cools head. Some in Florida go without hat…I need sun protection and shade for eyes. Squinting is tiring.

1 Like

Thanks everyone I’ll put out a trip nutrition report next week, hitting the water in the AM and hope to finish in the sub 40 hour time frame … but we had a small tornado do some damage around here this AM so maybe a bit of debris to contend with…