Temperature affects performance


Every year as the temperature starts climbing here in the desert, I find the need to remind myself that the paces and distances that I found comfortable and enjoyable a few weeks or months ago will not necessarily feel comfortable or enjoyable anymore.  Why?  Because increased temperatures have the ability to really wear on your body and its ability to keep cool and keep performing.  That 10 mile run that felt so good at a 8 minute per mile pace in February can feel like a death march in July, if you have not gotten acclimated to the heat, and are not properly hydrated. It also makes a huge difference between running when the sun is going up or down as opposed to running at noon.  I can handle running when it is 95-100 degrees at 4:30 AM when the sun is not beating down on me.  Right now it has even felt hot running during the day when it is 80 degrees.  Here is a chart that shows the difference in time and temperature for someone who is a 5 minute miler.  Use the percentages to figure out the times for yourself.

Heat         Total       Performance Sample Adjustments to Pace
Index      Change       Per mile    Per Kilometer
120 F / +16.33%        5:49              3:36.9
110 F / +12.00%        5:36             3:28.8
100 F / +8.33%           5:25            3:22.0
90 F / +5.33%            5:16              3:16.4
80 F / +3.00%            5:09             3:12.0
70 F / +1.66%            5:05             3:09.5
60 F / +.33%             5:01               3:07.0
50 F / 0%                     5:00             3:06.4
40 F / +.33%              5:01              3:07.0
30 F / +1.66%           5:05              3:09.5
20 F / +3.00%          5:09               3:12.0
10 F / +5.33%           5:16               3:16.4
0 F / +8.33%            5:25                3:22.0

This chart states that the optimal temperature for running is 50 degrees, some recent studies I have seen say that it is closer to 45 degrees, whatever.  This chart does not take into account wind or humidity which also have a major affect on your pace ability.

When I was searching for this formula I found an excel file that I have had for a long time that when you add your height, weight, age, etc it will make all kinds of really cool charts and formulas for you based on Doctor Daniels running formulas.  I cant get it uploaded here, but if you drop me an email I can send the zip file to you. I can probably host it on my ISP site, and when I do I will add a link here. UPDATE…I loaded it up and it should be available here.

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