Multistage, ultra-endurance events in hot, humid conditions necessitate thermal adaptation, often achieved through short term heat acclimation (STHA), to improve performance by reducing thermoregulatory strain and perceptions of heat stress. This study investigated the physiological, perceptual and immunological responses to STHA prior to the Marathon des Sables. Eight athletes (age 42 ± 4 years and body mass 81.9 ± 15.0 kg) completed 4 days of controlled hyperthermia STHA (60 min·day‒1, 45°C and 30% relative humidity). Pre, during and post sessions, physiological and perceptual measures were recorded. Immunological measures were recorded pre-post sessions 1 and 4. STHA improved thermal comfort (P = 0.02), sensation (P = 0.03) and perceived exertion (P = 0.04). A dissociated relationship between perceptual fatigue and Tre was evident after STHA, with reductions in perceived Physical (P = 0.04) and General (P = 0.04) fatigue. Exercising Tre and HR did not change (P > 0.05) however, sweat rate increased 14% (P = 0.02). No changes were found in white blood cell counts or content (P > 0.05). Four days of STHA facilitates effective perceptual adaptations, without compromising immune status prior to an ultra-endurance race in heat stress. A greater physiological strain is required to confer optimal physiological adaptations.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.