Marathon training in heat, struggling to run over 2 hours? Help!

Hi guys,

I'm new here so any forum advice etc is appreciated...

I am running the Prague marathon on 8th May, trying to achieve a time of 3:30-3:45. I had been training in the UK up until the end of Feb however due to work commitments have been based in Cancun, Mexico until the start of May and it is HOT! 

Back in the UK in February I ran a couple of 16 milers at a pace of 8:10 per mile and I thought come the end of April I’d be well on my way to hitting my target time, however due to the climate change this seems to have taken a huge hit. Temperatures here range between 24-30 degrees. The lowest temperature late in the evening is around 26 degrees and the lowest temperature early in the morning is around 24 degrees. Although I’ve been trying to run as many miles as possible at the coolest times (when it isn't actually that sunny), the longest run I have managed here is 13 miles, in a pace of around 8:20. At around 12 miles I’m completely dead which is extremely worrying!

Back in 2012 I ran the London marathon in a time of 4:20, however I was relatively new to long distance running and my longest training run back then was 15 miles and I rarely did more than 10 miles. In that marathon I hit the wall around the 14 mile mark (ouch), hence the slightly disappointing time. This was all due to a lack of training and I believed I could smash that time this year.

FYI, to get an idea of my standard, last year I ran a half marathon in 1:40 and a 10 miler in 1:13. I run 7 miles in a pace of around 7:30-8:00 a couple of times a week, however increased my weekly mileage in January this year in preparation for this marathon.

Although I'm running 10-13 miles 3 or 4 times a week here in Cancun, the current max distance I seem to be able to (or not be able to) run is disheartening. Is the fact that I’m not able to run over 13 miles here solely down to the heat? Are these 10-13 mile runs in the heat actually helping me at all? Will I even be able to run for 26 miles back in a much cooler climate? I have been training for months and as mentioned above ran a couple of 16 milers back in February, so surely I must be above that level of fitness now?

If anyone can offer me any advice towards being able to hit my target time come the start of May it would be much appreciated.



  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    If you can, try and run when it's cooler.

    Also don't run your long runs so fast. They should be run slower than your marathon pace. No wonder you are tired.
  • Millsy beat me to it. You're not running these long runs. You're racing them.
  • I'm not very experienced so maybe don't listen to me but if I was in your situation I'd maybe consider running twice in one day? I've heard of people with crazy busy schedules doing this, think you aim for your first run to be longer so your later run is on tired legs. Again, I don't know much on this but maybe something to look into?

  • bol saucebol sauce ✭✭✭

    We were in Cancun over Christmas & New Year, and moved into the gym to run. The humidity, even at 7am,was dreadful, had to really slow down but didn't enjoy it (other than saying hello to other runners). Saw a few folk out later in day, but all looked a bit overwhelmed with the heat. Suppose Prague will feel quite cool in comparison!

  • Thanks for the messages. As per the advice I ran a lot slower today (around 9 min miles) and managed a 16 miler fairly comfortably. The weather was also slightly cooler which was a big help.

    I am actually going to Monterrey a cooler place (20 degrees in the mornings) up north in Mexico for the next 5 days so I'm hoping to increase my distance there over the course of a few runs.

    I'll update you with how I get on. Obviously any further comments or advice would be much appreciated!

  • Have you tried pool running / Aquajogging? I'm not recommending it for you long runs but could be worth adding to the mix.

    But as others have said - slow down.
  • A few people have mentioned slowing down, but if I am realistically going to achieve my target time of 3:30 - 3:45 (8:30-8:45 pace) what would be a suitable pace and distance to be aiming for over here in this heat to stand me in good stead for when I am running the Prague marathon in a much cooler climate?

  • Even if you were running in the UK...most people would suggest your long run pace should be closer to 9:30 for most of them....add in the heat and I would think even slower... Use the shorter runs for faster pace or speedwork...

  • Hi all,

    To keep you updated, I am now in Monterrey, a cooler northern part of Mexico for the rest of the weekend. The temperature this morning (6-9am) was around 21 degrees / 70 Fahrenheit and it felt so much cooler than Cancun. Maybe the humidity is not so bad here compared to Cancun?

    I successfully ran an 18 miler in a pace of 8:24 per mile. I was aiming to do this closer to 9 min miles but it seems to be so difficult to go slower when it is so comfortable? It wasn't until mile 16 that I was really feeling tired so I was pretty happy.

    I am going to attempt a 20/22 miler on Monday before tapering down for the marathon in 2 weeks.

    Any thoughts?
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