Racing in the Heat & Calculators to Adjust Your Pace

Today I ran a 10k in true summer conditions. I had high hopes going into the race, but I neglected to consider the impact of the heat and humidity on my performance. Most of my runs in the past month have been without sun and between 55 and 70 degrees. Today, it was 75 degrees with full sun and 80% humidity. This may not seem too bad for people from the South or in other areas, but these conditions were challenging for me. 

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My original goal was to stay between 6:30-6:40 pace, but I quickly realized this wasn't sustainable after the first mile. I finished in 43 minutes, which is 50 seconds off my PR. I was initially disappointed as I know I can run faster, but then I remembered the effects of the weather.

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I wish there was a pool at the end of every summer run and race. My family ran the Mad Marathon as a relay one year, and they had huge kiddie pools filled with ice water at the end. It was awesome! Today I decided dumping cold water over my head would have to do. 

To adjust for weather challenges, there are several calculators to help you determine your pace. 

Hanson Running: plug in distance, goal time, and temperature/humidity or wind to get adjusted race time and pace. 

Runners Connect: plug in dew point, temperature, goal pace, distance, and intensity to get your adjusted pace.

Run SMART / VDOT O2: plug in distance, actual time or pace, and temperature or altitude to find out the effect on your pace. 

Below is my results from the Hanson Running calculator. I was fascinated to see all three of the calculators predicted almost exactly what I ran based on my goal.

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This really shows how weather can affect running. As much as I try not to look at the weather too much before races, it can make a big difference in your pace and racing strategy. The Boston Marathon had terrible weather this year with torrential rain and brutal winds. The winning time this year was 2:39 for the women. In 2017, the winning time was 2:21 for the women. That is 18 minutes different almost entirely due to the weather. While you can become acclimated to the heat and other adverse weather conditions, not all of us have the opportunity to do that. Sometimes all you can do is chalk it up to a good experience and realize there will be more chances down the road. As much as runners are always looking to improve, there is a lot to be said for just having fun and enjoying what you do! :)