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How much does temperature affect race performance?

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Author Topic:   How much does temperature affect race performance?
sweetiemfw
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posted May-27-2006 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sweetiemfw   Click Here to Email sweetiemfw     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just wondering--how much does temperature affect race performance? Three weeks ago I ran a 10K in 37:07 when it was perfect weather--about 55 degrees, low-moderate humidity, and almost no wind. Yesterday I ran a 10K in 38:21 It was in the 80s and very humid (not to mention that I'm not used to running in this yet). It was so humid that I had some trouble breathing. Was it likely that it was the heat and humidity that slowed me down, or did I just have a not-so-great race? It was the Nationals race, and ironic as it sounds, only a few people out of the 19 competitors ran their seed times or faster.

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kaiser08
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posted May-27-2006 12:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kaiser08   Click Here to Email kaiser08     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ya humidity is bad to run in for me. i had regionals tonight but the weather didnt phase me too much but somin else did you can read about in (this is some crap check it out!!!.) the humidity prolly had a big part in you time. at least it wasnt cold and rainy, i hate runnin in that.

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bonniecs
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posted May-27-2006 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bonniecs   Click Here to Email bonniecs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Absolutely, the humidity and heat makes you slower. Sorry it affected your race...Don't take it as a sign that you are slower or less fit, though. Sounds like everyone was hurting because of it.

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rleugers
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posted May-27-2006 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rleugers   Click Here to Email rleugers     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
50 degrees, sunny and no wind. Perrrrffffffect!

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MAclouse
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posted May-27-2006 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MAclouse     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now what if its the other way around. Im training in 110-120 degree weather soon to be even higher. What will this do when i go do a marathon in Seattle end of november and it is 45-60 degrees. Am i gonna be really fast or should i throw on a coat. Im in Iraq(its hot here)

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MikeBro
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posted May-30-2006 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MikeBro   Click Here to Email MikeBro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MFW--Heat (and humidity) dramatically affects your ability to run a good time. If you don't feel cold at the start line, it's too warm to run your best time, as the saying goes. High heat and humidity mean you overheat internally and lots of stuff goes kablooey (Dr. Noakes explains it slightly better in "The Lore of Running"). I don't know if anyone has ever come up with even a vaguely reasonable formula to account for the effects, but I can skim through Noakes again to see if he had any guidelines.

One thing Noakes believes from his research is that your brain is the Central Governor that controls how hard you can push yourself. One of the brain's concerns is overheating, which is most likely to happen when exercising on a hot, humid day. When the brain gets worried about survival (according to this theory), it convinces you that your legs are tired long before they would normally become so, getting you to slow down, lower your core body temp, and ease up on the overheating.

Regardless, IMO a hot, humid day can easily make a 1:15 or greater difference over the course of a 10K. This is especially true if hot & humid are not condition under which you normally train.

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cowardlylion
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posted May-30-2006 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cowardlylion     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Galloway's Book on Running (1984) has a chart called "Adjusting race pace for heat".

Estimated temperature at finish...Slower than goal pace
55-60 degrees.....1%
60-65 degrees.....3%
65-70 degrees.....5%
70-75 degrees.....7%
75-80 degrees.....12%
80-85 degrees.....20%
above 85.....forget it, run for fun

He attaches a note: "This chart is based upon my own experience in the heat and talking to other runners. It has no scientific verification, but I think you get the general idea."

According to this chart, you ran extremely well.

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arc918
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posted May-30-2006 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for arc918   Click Here to Email arc918     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cowardlylion:
Galloway's Book on Running (1984) has a chart called "Adjusting race pace for heat".

Estimated temperature at finish...Slower than goal pace
55-60 degrees.....1%
60-65 degrees.....3%
65-70 degrees.....5%
70-75 degrees.....7%
75-80 degrees.....12%
80-85 degrees.....20%
above 85.....forget it, run for fun

He attaches a note: "This chart is based upon my own experience in the heat and talking to other runners. It has no scientific verification, but I think you get the general idea."

According to this chart, you ran extremely well.


I guess you should have stopped for a walk break after mile 4...

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MikeBro
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posted May-30-2006 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MikeBro   Click Here to Email MikeBro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think the run-walk thing was even a glimmer of a wet dream for Galloway back then (1984). I think his "cash in on the exercise without exercising phenomenon" phase came at least a decade later.

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RTCRUNR
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posted May-30-2006 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RTCRUNR     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by arc918:
I guess you should have stopped for a walk break after mile 4...

Ha, ha. I got a good laugh out of that. MikeBro is right, though. That was old school Jeff Galloway back when he was a serious, hardcore runner.

Back on topic, yes, training in cool weather and then racing in 80+ degrees with humidity can definitely wreak havoc on your ability to race, and I would say a minute or so over 10k is possible.

MAclouse, I don't know how it will work out for you, but I've had some of my best races in the early fall when I've been training in hot, humid weather and then get one of the first nice, cool mornings of the season. I remember taking a big chunk off my 10k PR in just such a scenario. I was in better shape than when I ran my previous PR, but I still think some of that day's performance was weather related.

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aurang
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posted May-30-2006 07:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for aurang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think 80-85 degrees adds 20% to your time, but it certainly makes a difference. Everyone is different, as is the case with any change in weather or terrain, but of course the heat makes a difference.

If you doubled or you weren't at all used to the heat, it obviously would have made things even worse.

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tigger
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posted May-30-2006 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tigger     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Daniels for race times of 2:10, 2:30, 3:00 and 4:00 at:

70F - add 2 min, 2.5 min, 3 min, 4 min
81F - add 4 min, 4.5 min, 5.5 min, 7.5 min
90F - add 6 min, 7 min, 8.5 min, 11.5 min

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denton
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posted May-31-2006 01:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for denton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
..it's all relative....last yr i had to run a 1/2 thon a week and half after i had been in singapore/thailand.....the heat and humidity almost killed me at first, but by the end i could handle the conditions considerably better...on the day of my 1/2 it got quite warm (espec for those who had been taining in milder temps), but after being where I'd been i simply found it mild....while others wilted in the heat i just kept on going.....my actual time wasn't super fast, but i would say that my 'racing' time was very good

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WernerT
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posted May-31-2006 08:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WernerT     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just ran a marathon in Ottawa, Canada on the weekend and can tell you the heat definitely impacts performance negatively. With no training in hot temps, it sure does shock the system. And the "bigger you are the harder you fall" adage holds true as well.

I used to think it was just me but as mentioned above, Noakes supports it as well. If you're compact and lean it won't affect you as much as it would if you're 6' and 170 pounds!

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Alex Filidez
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posted May-31-2006 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alex Filidez     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I ended up getting a 5K PR on an 85 degree day, it also depends on the distance. You're not going to be off by 20% of your time in a 5K. Maybe Jeff was just speaking about the marathon distance.

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NH Road Runner
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posted May-31-2006 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NH Road Runner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One aspect that definitely makes a difference is whether or not you are used to running in that type of weather ... ie.. if your body has acclimatized or not. I am willing to take a guess that those who live in florida have an easier time when they get an 80 deg day in the boston marathon ... than those new englanders who have been training in the snow all winter.

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cowardlylion
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posted Jun-01-2006 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cowardlylion     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just found another chart, one that seems more reasonable.
http://www.run-insight.com/training-analysis-heatchart.htm
Yes, this is highly individual and changable, so take it with a grain of salt.

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Richard21142
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posted Jun-01-2006 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard21142     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While it is nice to run fast times, the best way to determine how well you did is to analyze your performance relative to the other runners. The runners behind you (one dnf) all had better seed times and were significantly behind you. So, you have to consider your race to be a success.

More importantly, your 10K races should give you a lot of confidence as you prepare for cross country.

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markvoss
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posted Jun-07-2006 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for markvoss     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It seems to me there should be some kind of chart somewhere for this. I do think it would vary as widely between an everyday run and an all-out performance trial. For instance, an everyday 8 minute per mile training pace at 60 degrees F vs 90 degrees F would not slow the same percentage as a 5:50 per mile pace for a 5K at 60 F vs 90F.

When running in high school I often referred to Galloway's book. I think all it did was scare me unecessarily. Even though I was in Nebraska's spring high temperatures (92F) and high humidity (90%), I was running relatively short distances: 800 meters, Mile, 2 Mile, so only between 2 minutes and 10 minutes total running time.

My personal experience was the my 800 times weren't adversely affected at all by the head and humidity, the Mile was maybe 4 seconds slower, and the 2 Mile maybe 10 seconds slower (5 seconds per mile).

I would think that real long distance racing would be affected a lot more. This is probably what Galloway was thinking when he wrote his first book in the early 80's with it's Marathon Mania, 10K Excessity, and "What's a 5K?" running environment.

I think any evaluation needs to include these variables.

Ambient Temperature
Dewpoint or Relative Humidity
Pace as % of your VO2Max (how hard YOU are running)
Total time of run
Wind Velocity
Percentage of Sun in sky

FYI:
I've raced a 2 Mile in Minus -8 F, 0% Humidity, 100% VO2Max, 11 Minutes, 20 mph wind, 10% Sun (February in Nebraska) and an 8K in 100 F, 6% Humidity, 95% VO2Max, 30 minutes, 0 mph wind, 100% Sun (September in Arizona).

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ljwoodw
Cool Runner
posted Jun-12-2006 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ljwoodw     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sweetiemfw:
Just wondering--how much does temperature affect race performance? Three weeks ago I ran a 10K in 37:07 when it was perfect weather--about 55 degrees, low-moderate humidity, and almost no wind. Yesterday I ran a 10K in 38:21 It was in the 80s and very humid (not to mention that I'm not used to running in this yet). It was so humid that I had some trouble breathing. Was it likely that it was the heat and humidity that slowed me down, or did I just have a not-so-great race? It was the Nationals race, and ironic as it sounds, only a few people out of the 19 competitors ran their seed times or faster.


Don't worry about it. I ran 38:35 for a 10K in 88 degree weather just one week after running 17:01 for a 5K in good conditions. If anything I should be much better at the 10K distance. It happens.

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JoeO
Cool Runner
posted Jun-14-2006 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JoeO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hugely, at least for me.

Last year I ran a 10k in 37:58 in 85 degree weather and felt terrible

6 days later I ran a 10k in 33:58 in 60 degree weather and felt great

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Tchuck
Cool Runner
posted Jun-15-2006 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tchuck   Click Here to Email Tchuck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tinman has a chart for this which will be in his book. I have seen it but don't have it. I remember that the ideal temperature was between 50-59 degrees and then performance was not only affected with warmer weather but also with cooler weather.

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bhearn
Cool Runner
posted Jun-19-2006 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bhearn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a race calcluator here which takes temperature (and hills) into account:

http://omrr.tripod.com/race_predictor.htm

I've found it to agree reasonably well with my times.

Plugging in some guesses from your two races, it actually predicts much worse than you ran in your second race.

Bob

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MadXC
Cool Runner
posted Jun-21-2006 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MadXC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure how much heat and humidity affect my racing because I haven't ran many races in hot weather. But with the use of a heart rate monitor I do know that heat and humidity have a very profound affect on my 70% pace. During the summer the difference between running during the day and night can be as much as 45 seconds to over 1 minute per mile difference in pace at 70%. As far as overall speed though, when I'm running for specific target times in a workout I'm usually stubborn enough that I'm going to hit my numbers no matter what, however, most of my summer running is long, slow, distance running.

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ukmaster
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posted Jul-06-2006 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ukmaster   Click Here to Email ukmaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
until last year i would have said heat/humidity would have an effect but not too much. I took part in a 100 mile relay in a hilly region (10 legs of 10 miles). The temp was about 32degrees and pretty humid. After a mile of my leg i hit the 1st hill and almost had to walk and by the 2nd hill i was walking. I wouldn't have beleived it if someone had said i would be walking at that stage but it just shows the effect heat can have. There were approx 20 teams/ 200 runners. These were all experienced club runners and yet 4 people had to have ambulances to take them to hospital, 1collapsed in the showers after the race and the final leg runner of the leading eam collapsed 2 miles from the finish. Worst of all one runner had to be airlifted to hospital and was in a coma for 3 days with vital organs failing. Even when he was allowed home 7 days after the race his speech was still impaired. Thankfully he is fully recovered but i have got a helluva lot more respect for the heat than i ever had before

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