Heat Training in the Life of a Pro Cyclist


Sarah Roy of Canyon//SRAM Racing had three weeks to prepare for the Giro d’Italia Donne following the shortened Tour of the Pyrenees. She and her coaches kindly shared her CORE sensor data to give a glimpse into the real-world heat training of a professional cyclist.

We can see her thermal profile from the first stage in the Pyrenees on June 9th – elevated for an hour early in the day, and then peaking again for the last hour of the race. On that day, her Heat Strain Score peaked at over 6, and she accumulated a Heat Strain Score of 1278.

Over the next three weeks, her coaches prescribed a plan – do four heat-specific sessions that would simulate those race conditions. The goal was to build blood plasma, boost performance, and better acclimate her to the heat.

We can see one of those sessions on June 20 – a long endurance ride followed by an hour indoors on the trainer while wearing a CORE heat training suit. She did a 10-minute ramp-up at threshold to elevate her core temp, and then just cruised while maintaining her core temp in her heat training zone. Notice the sharp spike in heart rate at 14:30, followed by the rise in core temperature. Her Heat Strain Index rose to over 6, and she accumulated a Heat Strain Score of 943 for the day. Three other sessions during the month mimicked this workout.

Throughout the month she accumulated almost 12 hours in her heat training zone – about 3 hours per week. And we can see 4 training days where her Heat Strain Score exceeded that of her June 9th race in the Pyrenees.

After these 3 weeks of heat session, Sarah says, “I have noticed my core temp outside is now lower than before. My sweat rate seems to have increased (very sweaty human here now!). And I noticed my tolerance on the trainer improved HEAPS from the first session to the last session. I’ve also noticed that my core temp seems to drop relatively quickly once I’m in cooler temps or the pressure is off the pedals.”

Based on this data and her observations, it looks like Sarah has thoroughly prepped her thermoregulatory system for the Giro d’Italia Donne!