Coping with heat running

by Ross

Hi Marius.

I have noticed that heat seems to greatly affect my Pace/ Heart-rate ratio, I am doing the 3:30 plan simply because I want to run 4 times a week, and since it has been a long while since I have run previous to this. I am mainly just training by heart rate and seeing how I go with the pace.

I have found, especially with the longer period interval runs, that I can nearly match the pace and heart rate zones as specified in the plan, but if it is a hot day, my heart rate goes through the roof, if I go anywhere near the pace. Just wondering what the reason for this is, since my body is really doing the same amount of work, and whether I should hold back and stay in the heart rate zone, or push hard to try and get used to running hot.

Worries me because the marathon I am aiming for could be any where between 10 to 35 Celcius on the day!

Answer: Hi Ross, I've answered this question in this post about cardic drift and here on running in hot weather

IF the marathon comes around to a hot weather one you HAVE to make sure on beforehand to really, really push drinking on the long runs.

You can actually work up the ability to absorb fluid from your intestins if you do this on beforehand. Every 15 minutes drink a substantial amounth of fluid to work on this - and start with it 5-6 weeks before the marathon.

You also have to consider the temperatur, if it is above 20 degrees, in your finishing time and go out easier - and instead aim for a more negative split if you feel fine at 28-29 km. This is much more safe if the weather it hot!

I wish you all the best with your training,

Kind regards,

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Heat and the Marathon

by Troy Thompson
(St. Joseph, Michigan, USA)

How does one deal with heat and the marathon - if one starts to experience problems with overheating ?

"Dear Marius,

Using your plan for the second time now, I've gotten a second PR, 3:12 in Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.A., despite no PR's this spring in the shorter races. Thanks! I have hopes for a 3-hour marathon eventually.

But I developed a brain fog late in the race. I felt really good for the first 17 miles, and ran fairly even. I averaged 7:22 for miles 1-8, 7:09 for miles 9-17, and then slowed to 7:20 for 18-21. Then, for miles 22-26, when it got into the mid-70's with no shade, I slowed to a frustrating 7:51/mile, lost my leg-turnover, had a small cramp forming in my right quadricep, and most importantly, felt mentally confused. I was in a fog, often just following the yellow line down the middle of the road, rather than taking tangents. At about mile 25, after I ran an 8-minute mile, I had just enough wits about me to tell myself that if I was going to be confused, I might as well run fast and be confused! This helped a little. I didn't have this problem on my cold marathon--but on both hot ones I did. I believe I drank adequate fluids, about 20 cups, about 3/4ths sport drinks and 1/4th water, but I didn't have enough memory to keep exact track of the number of drinks, and I didn't try to count the cups. I ate exactly 6 gels total, evenly spaced.

I use a magnesium supplement after hard/hot workouts in training, but no magnesium during the marathon or in the 2 days prior. What's my best chance to avoid this brain confusion--and still achieve my best possible marathon.

Troy Thompson, age 41"

Answer: Hi Troy and congrats on a second PR ! (for those of you that does not know - you can read more on the full Troy story on the Presentation page, just a little bit down there : Marathon Training )

I'll give you a two-fold answer to this. You basically have two options.

1) Try and find a marathon in cooler conditions. As a MD you know that the internal ability to deal with heat when running is highly individual. Now, if you have experienced what you say above you have to respect this and be careful. You do not want to experience full overheating. If you find a marathon with cooler conditions you can suddenly find yourself working really close to sub 3:00.

2) The second option is to see if you can work your ability to deal with the heat. What I would suggest it is really, really stretch how much you drink during your runs leading up to the marathon. You can train the ability to absorb fluids so you want to push that limit.

In addition to that, once (no more, otherwise you can deplete yourself of electrolytes !) a week for the last 6-7 weeks before the marathon take on much more clothes than normal and run the workouts in this. I've used this myself leading up to races in really hot weather and it helps your ability to deal with hot conditions quite a bit.

I look forward to hearing about how the next marathon goes if you try the above.

Kind regards,

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