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Race Pace and Heat

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Race Pace and Heat

Post  Jason K. on Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:42 pm

If there's already thread on this, please let me know.

I'm running the Tobacco Road Marathon (Cary, NC) this weekend and the low temp is expected to be mid-50s with highs in the low-70s. It's a trail race, and from my experience, it's usually a couple degrees cooler on the trail. At the gun it will probably be around 50. By the time I finish, probably mid-60s.

I know this isn't heat like Chicago 2007, but for me it's a bit hot to expect an all out effort. At what temps do you back off and by how much?
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  John Kilpatrick on Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:50 pm

That is a great question and I've wondered that myself - I've always thought that is where a heart rate monitor might come in handy?

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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Jason K. on Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:55 pm

@John Kilpatrick wrote: I've always thought that is where a heart rate monitor might come in handy?

I'm a HRM junky but I've already decided not to wear it for the marathon. Call me crazy, but when I'm giving all out effort for 26 miles, I kinda don't want to know...
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  fostever on Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:10 pm

Actually those sound like close to ideal temps. I know low to mid 50's is optimal, but geez those are pretty good. I would not adjust your goals at all and just see how you feel then "play it by ear." Of course, make sure to hydrate well.
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:46 pm

I agree - keep cool and hydrated. I always find that dumping copious amounts of water over myself from miles 16-end is helpful. Especially if you're wearing cotton.
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Admin on Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:10 pm

Pay attention to effort, not pace, and you should be fine. I've had some surprisingly good races in less than ideal conditions just running by effort.

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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:26 pm

I don't think you need to adjust pace too much unless you expect the temps to rise into the 70s. This does somewhat depend upon you and what you can typically handle. I know, from living in Georgia right now, that I don't welcome the weather we are beginning to see right now, but by the middle of June, I can race in it pretty well. We have a half marathon and marathon here in Atlanta on Sunday, and while I think I'll have no issues in the half, I would be concerned if I was running the full as it is expected to be in the low 70s by 9 am which would be roughly half way.

As a rule of thumb, I start to back off pace by 10% per mile when the temps start in the 60s and go up from there.

One other caveat, I also believe that the more fit you are, the less affect the heat will have on you. That being said if the starting temp was to be 70F, then I'd run at training pace and no more.

Make sure you hydrate with both water and sports drink. It can be warmer in the trails if there is any humidity in the air.
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Jason K. on Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:36 pm

I've been very lucky with all my races since I started running marathons to have cold weather. This includes times when it was probably a bit too cold like Chicago in 2009, but for me, 40s is prime conditions.

When I run fall races, I'm all set since training through the summer in NC sometimes means high 80s and humid before the sun comes up.

I like the water over the head in the second half idea. If the temps trend up, I'll check in around the half and back off a bit if need be.... This is my shot at BQ 2013 so I'm not going to back off too much if I don't have to!
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Julie on Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:30 pm

I agree 40s are even better than 50s but that doesn't sound too bad. Just listen to your body and if you need to slow down and drink more, then do it.
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  ounce on Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:11 pm

I agree with dumping water on your head, but as you feel like you need it. If you'll be in a shaded area during the race, it won't feel as bad. Humidity will be the key.

Any acclimatization you have been able to do will help immensely.

My long run times increase 30 seconds per mile for every 5 degrees above 60 degrees. YMMV. Good luck.
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Jerry on Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:25 pm

You don't know how well your body will react to this temperature until you have experienced it. Not much a difference to me, but then I live in Texas like places all my life.

Stay cool, my friend. I mean, whatever happens, stay cool mentally.
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  JohnP on Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:18 am

Seems there are a lot of optimists answering this question. Whether I'm a pessimist or a realist, those temps are very likely to affect your goal pace, especially the second half when it's warmer and you are more tired anyway due to running a marathon. Drink at every station, be sure to take Gatorade. Anything over 55 degrees is going to cause your body to work more which typically means a reduction in pace.
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Jason K. on Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:10 am

@JohnP wrote: Whether I'm a pessimist or a realist......

I'd say, realist. Based on the forecast today and tomorrow look very similar. This is around the time I should be finishing. Current temp is 63 in the shade, but much warmer in the sun.

Nothing to do now but enjoy the expo, and crank it tomorrow.

Thanks for all of the posts. J
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Jason K. on Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:35 pm

So here's a quick post-script on Race Pace and Heat:

The weather was around 58 at the start, mid sixties by the finish with overcast skies and plenty of humidity.

I was shooting for 2:59, I ran a 3:03. Having never run this distance
at this pace in this weather, I fought back leg cramps from mile 18 to
the finish. I took Mike's advice and dumped water over my head which seemed to help keep me comfortable (in relative terms of course). I also took water or Gatorade at every aid station even though I always struggle to drink enough when I'm running hard.

Thanks again for the posts. Hopefully my 3:03 will be good enough for Boston 2013!
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Julie on Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:05 pm

Great job! Congrats!
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  JohnP on Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:03 pm

Congratulations Jason, great job!
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Re: Race Pace and Heat

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:00 pm

That's 2 minutes faster than BQ, right? I think you'll be fine. Mine was only 2 minutes and change this year, and they're tightening it next year, so...

Great job with your race! Glad the water helped.
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