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Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

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Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Martin VW on Thu May 10, 2012 12:20 pm

I've seen and heard comments about how Boston was tough because we didn't train in 80 degree temps. I've often noticed that a 50 degree day now "feels" markedly different than a 50 degree day in January (here in the northeast). I don't know if that's real or perceived. Maybe some of you know the physiology.

But, what we DO know is that if we're running a spring marathon after training in the north, that race day tempersatures are almost certainly going to be warmer than our average training run. It's just highly unlikely that a day in April isn't going to be warmer than most days in December through February.

And (putting Chicago's statistically freakish streak of 4 out of 5 years aside) if we're running a fall marathon, it's highly likely that it will be cooler and less humid on an October morning than it is in June through August.

Most of us in various parts of the country do some of our training indoors out of necessity due to weather, darkness, whatever, and feel somewhat guilty about it, that it negatively impacts the effectiveness of our training, that treadmills don't simulate the pounding of roads and lack wind resistance, that indoor tracks are fine for speedwork, but lack any elevation change for general training.

What I'm wondering is, it it actually BETTER to deliberately run a percentage of our miles indoors, to more closely match the fat part of the curve of temp/humidity conditions on race day? Chris would probably suggest a Do Not Exceed 33% Rule - oh, wait, different thread.

Just like matching hill profiles and altitude training, is there an adaptive value to running indoors in dry, 70 degree temps on purpose, instead of outside in 20 / 90 degree temps?

This has probably been covered in a book that I haven't read. I long ago learned that anything I can think of has been thought of before by someone smarter and more experienced than me. If anyone has a source, I'd be interested to hear.
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Admin on Thu May 10, 2012 12:30 pm

My belief, though totally unscientific, is that it is always more beneficial to train in heat regardless of the race day conditions. Heat forces your body to work more efficiently. If it happens to be cool and dry on race day then you have a distinct advantage. If it happens to be warm, then you are at least acclimated and hopefully can avoid heat-related issues.

I have been known to regularly hit the sauna and/or hottub after training runs.

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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Liz R on Thu May 10, 2012 1:13 pm

I vote yes, train in some 70 degree temps year round.

I used to be a Midwesterner, and got surprised by heat in my second marathon , an unseasonably hot Pittsburgh in which temps reached the mid 80s by noon time. I had trained outside in the snow all winter and was completely unprepared. After that I ran some warm inside runs every winter.

Not an issue any more living in Texas.

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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Schuey on Thu May 10, 2012 1:31 pm

My take on it YES. I would have never thought that would be the case but at least for me I have found that I have run my best races after training in warm temps and then finding race day to be nice a cool. And if race day was the other way around warm I still found that I still run a good race and even PR's.

Examples Boston 2009, 2010 and 2011 were all training cycles were 75% to 85% of the running was done indoors and on a treadmill. Accept for 2009 the other big major key that added to me running two of the best races of my life were training to the Boston course by figuring out the uphills/downhill grades the best I could. It wasn't until March were more of my runs were outside but still run over rolling hills. Even with that I still do runs inside in the warmer temps.

For me I found that we race day came not only was I ready for the course but the cool temps felt really good and the effort of running was very easy and I also surprised myself by being able to run at a faster pace then I thought I was capable to hold.

Now this past year even though I wasn't going for a PR, I did 90% of my running outside due to the mild temps here in Chicago. For me I felt like I paid dearly for that choice the warm temps just felt that much warmer to me and I found myself feeling more uncomfortable then what I would normally feel.

To further illustrate this Chicago the past 4 of 5 years has been warm to hot. In all of them except for 2007 and last year (pacing Chris) I PR in everyone of those races. The major reason why I feel that was the case was instead of going out and running in the early morning or late evening all the time when it was cooler I would make myself go out and run most of the time during the hottest part of the day.

As Matt pointed out I feel that since the effort is that much harder in hotter temps my body learns to adjust to it over time. And the best case is that come race day is that the temps are cool to perfect and now race pace effort feels like a breeze. In the worst case which I have been put through a lot at the Chicago Marathon I have found myself excelling because I feel I know I can handle the heat and I what the effort feels like.
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Jerry on Thu May 10, 2012 1:58 pm

VW, run indoor to simulate the warm condition? Jerry has a hard time to relate. No
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Jerry on Thu May 10, 2012 2:11 pm

In theory, it works.

In reality, Jerry trained in hot Texas summer and anticipated break through performance in Chicago. Didn't happen, twice. lol!
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Schuey on Thu May 10, 2012 2:39 pm

@Jerry wrote:In theory, it works.

In reality, Jerry trained in hot Texas summer and anticipated break through performance in Chicago. Didn't happen, twice. lol!

Because Jerry needs to learn pacing! lol!
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Mark B on Thu May 10, 2012 2:53 pm

Since it's usually in the 30s and 40s where I live in the early part of the year, I'd definitely incorporate indoor running if I were planning a spring marathon. The only thing is that indoor runs still can't duplicate the impact of direct sun on your body - I've found over the years that sunlight seems to fritz out my system more than warmer temperatures. Any suggestions for that, other than moving to Palm Springs?
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Admin on Thu May 10, 2012 3:00 pm

@Mark B wrote:Since it's usually in the 30s and 40s where I live in the early part of the year, I'd definitely incorporate indoor running if I were planning a spring marathon. The only thing is that indoor runs still can't duplicate the impact of direct sun on your body - I've found over the years that sunlight seems to fritz out my system more than warmer temperatures. Any suggestions for that, other than moving to Palm Springs?

Click for the answer...

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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Chris M on Thu May 10, 2012 3:02 pm

It is a good question and since I do a great deal of treadmill running year-round, I don't know that I have experienced the impact of acclimatizing or lack thereof either way. But I think it likely is true that if you run all winter outdoors in 20-50 degree temps, you are going to be in a great deal of trouble with 70+ temps on race day. How much better off would you have been in a huge amount of your training was done at 70? I think better off for sure but I don't know by how much.

My own theory is that people are impacted by race day temps in very different ways. Keeping our analysis on the marathon - because I think it is different and less relevant for shorter distance races - I think there's a huge swing in how much various people are impacted negatively or positively by conditions. I know personally that I simply can't perform ideally in a marathon with temps higher than the mid 50s. In shorter races, no problem. But once I'm out there for 2 hours+ with the way I sweat, my performance degrades massively even in moderately warm conditions. But some other runners I know are completely fine even at 60 degrees for the marathon. I imagine everyone starts to suffer performance wise much above that. On the other hand, for people like myself and Scott Case, it simply can't be "too cold" for the marathon. But other people might have their ideal marathon time impacted by cold weather. If there's a way I could better prepare myself for running in warm conditions, I would want to do it. Like I said, I run a ton on the mill anyway but maybe I should wear extra clothes or do the sauna thing Matt does.

Mostly what I do is cross my fingers and desperately hope for a 40 degree windless day for a marathon....
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Martin VW on Thu May 10, 2012 3:02 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:
@Mark B wrote:Since it's usually in the 30s and 40s where I live in the early part of the year, I'd definitely incorporate indoor running if I were planning a spring marathon. The only thing is that indoor runs still can't duplicate the impact of direct sun on your body - I've found over the years that sunlight seems to fritz out my system more than warmer temperatures. Any suggestions for that, other than moving to Palm Springs?

Click for the answer...

I assume the "Tanning Mom" is making news all across the country...

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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Mark B on Thu May 10, 2012 3:25 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:
@Mark B wrote:Since it's usually in the 30s and 40s where I live in the early part of the year, I'd definitely incorporate indoor running if I were planning a spring marathon. The only thing is that indoor runs still can't duplicate the impact of direct sun on your body - I've found over the years that sunlight seems to fritz out my system more than warmer temperatures. Any suggestions for that, other than moving to Palm Springs?

Click for the answer...

lol!

(And as for "tanning mom" - she needs to click here, pronto.)


Last edited by Mark B on Thu May 10, 2012 3:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Mark B on Thu May 10, 2012 3:27 pm

@Chris M wrote:Mostly what I do is cross my fingers and desperately hope for a 40 degree windless day for a marathon....

That sounds like Portland or CIM (Sacramento), Chris.

You really ought to try out the West Coast someday.
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Martin VW on Thu May 10, 2012 3:31 pm

@Mr MattM wrote: I have been known to regularly hit the sauna and/or hottub after training runs.

Hitting the spa tub is one of the undeniable luxuries of winter. Whether because of the deep chill from outdoor training or just living in the cold for months on end, that moment when I first hit the 105o water is one of my all-time favorites. Every time.
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Admin on Thu May 10, 2012 3:45 pm

@Martin VW wrote:
@Mr MattM wrote: I have been known to regularly hit the sauna and/or hottub after training runs.

Hitting the spa tub is one of the undeniable luxuries of winter. Whether because of the deep chill from outdoor training or just living in the cold for months on end, that moment when I first hit the 105o water is one of my all-time favorites. Every time.

I agree! And 105F is just about perfect! But will you do it in the heat of summer, too? I've made it part of training so it's year 'round. Does it really help? I dunno... maybe. Part of me thinks that spending time in temps HOTTER than what I run in during the summer months makes the running feel a little easier. 90F during a run is pretty hot, but running for 30 minutes at 90F isn't as hot as sitting in the sauna for 30 minutes. It's all relative, and a lot of it may just be mental... but it helps keep me going when the weather here in the midwest gets oppressive.

For marathon training, heat is good. Within reason, of course.

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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Martin VW on Thu May 10, 2012 4:21 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:
@Martin VW wrote:
@Mr MattM wrote: I have been known to regularly hit the sauna and/or hottub after training runs.

Hitting the spa tub is one of the undeniable luxuries of winter. Whether because of the deep chill from outdoor training or just living in the cold for months on end, that moment when I first hit the 105o water is one of my all-time favorites. Every time.

I agree! And 105F is just about perfect! But will you do it in the heat of summer, too? I've made it part of training so it's year 'round. Does it really help? I dunno... maybe. Part of me thinks that spending time in temps HOTTER than what I run in during the summer months makes the running feel a little easier. 90F during a run is pretty hot, but running for 30 minutes at 90F isn't as hot as sitting in the sauna for 30 minutes. It's all relative, and a lot of it may just be mental... but it helps keep me going when the weather here in the midwest gets oppressive.

For marathon training, heat is good. Within reason, of course.

Yes, I do. Not for the acclimatization benefit, but for the therapeutic benefit. Mental and physical.

Earlier in my athletic career, I used to get "jumpers knee" (patella shock). I wouldn't be able to walk upstairs Sunday nights after a tournament. A trip to the spa tub Monday, good to go for practice on Tuesday.
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Diego on Thu May 10, 2012 5:57 pm

If you want to see how effective heat training can be, please check out Rachellara's Boston report on page 3 RWOL MRT Forum. She trained in the Australian heat and ran sub-3 at Boston, a major PR.

So yeah, I'd train inside wearing mukluks and a down jacket to mimic marathon spring heat(like Boston) .
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Martin VW on Thu May 10, 2012 6:25 pm

@Diego wrote:If you want to see how effective heat training can be, please check out Rachellara's Boston report on page 3 RWOL MRT Forum. She trained in the Australian heat and ran sub-3 at Boston, a major PR.

So yeah, I'd train inside wearing mukluks and a down jacket to mimic marathon spring heat(like Boston) .

That defies everything I've read about how the body regulates heat, and you're just the person that can help, Diego. Smile

As I understand it, as core temp builds, the brain diverts blood flow from the muscles to the surface of the skin to help with the dissipation of heat. That diverted blood flow means that you have less oxygen being converted to energy in the muscles.

Also, more of the fluid content of the cells would be converted to sweat, for the same purpose - dissipation of heat.

Wouldn't both of those changes result in greater cardiac drift, meaning that anyone, regardless of where they trained, would see degradation of performance as air temperature and/or humidity (well, dew point) increase?

So, while she PR'd because she was more used ot the heat, wouldn't she have PR'd by even more if it had been 65, not 85? She may have been uncomfortably cold if it were 45, but from a performance standpoint, wouldn't she have done even better still?
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Julie on Thu May 10, 2012 6:35 pm

Wouldn't anyone do better if it were 45 at a race (or for any run)? And you'd just do even better if you were used to the heat because it would feel so good? Just from personal experience, that is one reason I love fall marathons. If they come on a nice cool fall day and I'm used to training in the heat all summer long, it makes the marathon just that much easier/less difficult.
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  wrichman on Thu May 10, 2012 10:19 pm

my friend ran a 2:38 in Boston this year....and he lives in Alaska! He did a lot of his training on the treadmill in his basement and turned the temp up to mid 70s. I'm convinced he's also an alien alien
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Admin on Thu May 10, 2012 11:09 pm

@Martin VW wrote:
So, while she PR'd because she was more used ot the heat, wouldn't she have PR'd by even more if it had been 65, not 85? She may have been uncomfortably cold if it were 45, but from a performance standpoint, wouldn't she have done even better still?

I'd assume yes, provided she still ran a 'smart race'. It goes back to the idea that if you train in heat and get a cool weather race, great! But if you get a warm race, you can hopefully hold on a bit longer. Rachel busted her ass in training through the Australian summer and reaped the reward despite the heat.

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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Chris Coleman on Fri May 11, 2012 10:00 am

I regularly do my summer running with temperatures in the mid nineties and sometimes over 105˚, so perhaps I have a different perspective. These high temperatures greatly reduce the speed at which I can run and make six miles at marathon pace a hard workout.

I'm sure that high temperatures have a toughening-up effect and do provide acclimatisation. The toughening up may be beneficial in lower temperatures, but the acclimatisation is ONLY for high temperatures in which (almost) no-one would want to race. In any case, I don't think acclimatisation takes more than a few weeks.

Lower temperatures allow training runs to be both longer and better quality, which overwhelmingly outweighs the minor benefits of training in high temperatures.

I realise that the seasonal or indoor/outdoor difference between 50 and 70 may be different in character from the difference between 80 and 100, but intuitively I think the same principles would apply.
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Diego on Fri May 11, 2012 12:02 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:
@Martin VW wrote:
So, while she PR'd because she was more used ot the heat, wouldn't she have PR'd by even more if it had been 65, not 85? She may have been uncomfortably cold if it were 45, but from a performance standpoint, wouldn't she have done even better still?

I'd assume yes, provided she still ran a 'smart race'. It goes back to the idea that if you train in heat and get a cool weather race, great! But if you get a warm race, you can hopefully hold on a bit longer. Rachel busted her ass in training through the Australian summer and reaped the reward despite the heat.

Exactly.

As another example, Sammy Wanjiru busted his butt training in the heat and then destroyed the field in the Olympic marathon. With a 2:06 in those conditions, I'm not certain how much faster he would have gone if it had been cooler--I bet a minute or two, IF he ran the same tactical race from the gun.

The old axiom used to be train low and sleep high, but research is now showing that training hot and racing cool(if you can find a cool race) is even better for performance and scientific variables we measure like total blood volume, sweat rates, cardiopulmonary efficiency, etc.

If you can train hot and live at altitude, so much the better. Very Happy

And I won't argue Chris' point. I don't think any of us should be doing anything but easy runs in training when the dewpoint rises above 75 or so.
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Martin VW on Fri May 11, 2012 12:31 pm

So, that suggests we should also intentionally overdress when we train outdoors?

Or indoors, for that matter.

Wonder if anyone's willing to try it here. Smile
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Re: Should We Train Indoors On Purpose?

Post  Liz R on Fri May 11, 2012 12:52 pm

Hey Jerry, Oz, Ken, and Joel: that means we should embrace the summers here.

You other guys are living in the wrong state.


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