Thursday, June 27, 2013

Running in the Heat: Adjusting Your Pace

(I interrupt the report of my experiences on the Northwest Tour for a super-important post that just can’t wait, especially with the temps heating up across the country. I will be back later in the week with more tour reports.)

Last summer, as the temperatures heated up, I wrote a post on the idea of dew point and how it affects a runner. It has become a pretty popular post, as we all struggle with the heat with summer running. This year I wanted to add a little follow-up. This one was inspired by one of the runners I am coaching and a comment by one of my friends in a running group on Facebook. Thanks, Kate and Beth!

We all know that running in the heat affects our performance, and if you read the dew point article, we know a little bit about why. The question then becomes, “What do I do with this information? How can I use this to be a more effective runner?” 

Most of us realize that we need to adjust our expectations in races, but how many of us realize that as temperatures heat up to train effectively we also need to adjust our training paces as well. If we do not, we are actually putting much more stress on our bodies than we intended. At the extreme end, this could lead to heat-related illnesses. However, it also could lead to over-training or to not getting the intended benefits from each workout.

Adjustment of paces for various workouts needs to be done on a day-to-day, run-to-run basis. This could be a pretty tedious process, especially if you were trying to figure out percentages (as in at 75 degrees adjust your pace by 15%). I don’t know about you, but taking percentages of time is more math than I want to do before I head out the door for a run. Thankfully, there is a resource available to do these calculations for you.

It is available on a blog called RunnersConnect. According to their site, it was developed “with the help of legendary running coach Jack Daniels.” You enter your distance and the time you would run for the workout under optimal conditions. Then you click an “update” button, and it will give you the adjusted paces for various “feels like” temperatures. Let me show you an example. If I was going out for a 5 mile run at 9 min per mile pace, I would put in that information, and it would give me the adjusted paces and total times for various "feels like" temperatures:

So if I was heading out on a 85 degree afternoon, I would know that I should run my workout at 9:24 pace rather than the 9:00 pace that I was scheduled for. Pretty easy, right?

So where do you find this awesome calculator? To check it out, just click on this link: Temperature and Pace Calculator   Be sure to bookmark the page and use it often this summer!!

Related Articles:
Dew Point and Runners: What is it and why should we care?

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