Train hot - race cold?

I'm training for London this year and getting really excited about it. Training is going well and my confidence is high, I'm just a little intrigued as to what target to set.

Ordinarily I'd have no problem judging my fitness from tempo runs and distance efforts to work out what pace I feel comfortable aiming for - but on this occasion I'm aware that my entire training cycle is taking place through the Australian summer. I'm doing my long runs (28km [18 mile] at the moment - but will build up to 37km [23 mile]) in temperatures and humidity that would have most of you in the UK flat on your back gasping for air (No criticism whatsoever of you guys - just a reflection of what conditions you're used to). I'm running in 28-30C with 50-70% humidity most of the time. Its oppressive, its hard and I am developing a very very effective sweat system!

I've read plenty that says if you're racing in hot conditions you need to make allowances and reduce you speed (by 15-20% perhaps for these conditions) - but how does that work in reverse? Can I simply race 15% faster than I calculate I'm used to? Or is there a downside to conditions being cooler and dryer than I'm used to? Am I 'in tune with running slowly in hot sticky conditions and not used to the faster leg turnover that higher speeds mean? I'll only have 6 days to acclimatize to London in April and although Brisbane weather will have cooled a little by then, there's still likely to be a significant differential between climates.

Its a bit of a stretch asking a UK forum for advice on this one - but if there's anyone who has any experience of 'training hot' and 'racing cool' I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts.


  • Well, you'll have an advantage over most of the runners who blame the scorching heat for a bad run in London when the temperature reaches 20 ºC in April.

    Your pace will vary a bit if it's cooler on the day.  Maybe run to perceived effort or heart rate rather than absolute pace - you'll find yourself a bit quicker for the same HR if you're not having to lose as much heat.  You should know what kind of effort you can sustain, regardless of pace.  Worst case would be if it's cold in London - you'll probably need to buy a long sleeve top as I'm guessing you don't own one of those!

    The Kenyans & Ethiopians don't seem to have much trouble in London, you'll be fine!

  • HA77HA77 ✭✭✭
    edited February 2017
    First time I came over here my breathing didn't feel quite right. I put it down to the cold dry air over here after breathing soup like air in Brisbane my whole life. Now that I've lived in the UK for a while I don't get the same issues when I travel.

    Apart from that, you may very well be able to run faster in the cold after training in the heat. There are plenty of people over here who do their training wearing too many clothes to get the same effect. I can't imagine there is any way to estimate how much faster though. I'd just be setting your goal race pace without allowing for any improvement due to temperature and then maybe running to HR or perceived effort as Dave suggests.
  • Actually - I do have a long sleeved top Dave, but I didnt get to wear it last winter, it didnt get cold enough! I cant imagine I'll wear long sleeves in London either, unless its under about 8C I'm happy with bare arms and shoulders. I'll be bringing my lucky "disposable" jumper that I've taken to all 4 of my marathons so far with the idea of wearing it on the start line and throwing it away when I start, but each time I've been ok just stuffing it in my bag before I check it in and then mingling with the crowds to stay warm.

    Thanks for the replies guys :)

    If you think it might be a bit chilly for the first few miles maybe a pair of arm warmers, easy to take off later on in the race.   I've been running marathons for over 20 years and started using arm warmers a couple of years ago and one of the best bits of kit I've ever bought.
  • NickW2NickW2 ✭✭✭
    DA - apparently it was 2 degrees at the start of London last year. Having said that, I was in a T shirt and shorts, and wasn't cold at all once we got going - I even went through the showers at one point. I was pretty chilly on the start line though (even in a bin bag)!
  • 2C is a bit on the nippy side! I think that would definitely be cool enough to justify wearing my 'disposable jumper' for a km or 2!...and perhaps my running gloves that I've worn precisely ONCE in Brisbane in 3 and a half years :neutral:   (I have seen frost in Brisbane - but only twice in 18 years of living here, and that was before I started running)
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