General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather Rss Feed  
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2013-06-10 6:40 AM

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Subject: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
I am training for a late August or early September Marathon with the hopes of BQ'ing. The problem is that, for some reason, I just cannot make it past about 8-11 miles outside because of the heat. I have lived and trained in the hot humid weather all of my life, but I assume now because my age (59 female) I am having a harder time with it. I carry water with Nuun in it for the run and prior to the run make sure I have a banana and some nutritional sport drink, but that doesn't help me get past that 11 mile mark. Yesterday I was supposed to go 15 miles and I only made it outside for 8.5 before I just couldn't do it anymore. The weather at 7 am when I started was low 80's and 88% humidity. So, I took it inside to a treadmill and finished. I used to train in even hotter weather, so that is why this is so frustrating for me. Leaving earlier isn't really a solution because our temps stay high all night and humidity is even higher before the sun comes up. Sooooo

My question is, has anyone ever BQ'd doing most of their long runs on a treadmill? I don't like the treadmill because I get a bit dizzy over a long run and it also seems to change my stride/gait, but I am not seeing a lot of other options here. The good news is that the Marathon I am working towards is Santa Rosa in California which will be much cooler. I can still manage my speed work and tempo runs outside on most days, but just not that long run. I sweat profusely which is a blessing and a curse.


2013-06-10 7:09 AM
in reply to: topolina

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
I can't answer your treadmill question, but living on Orlando I am used to the heat and humidity and marathon training. The marathon group I train with start anywhere from 4-6am ( depending on the miles needed) to get the miles in before it gets too hot out. We are almost done by the time you are starting. It is not fun getting up so early, but it allows us to get the miles in without dying . Naps are our friends! Good luck.
2013-06-10 8:05 AM
in reply to: topolina

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather

A couple thoughts.

It is still early in the hot season.  Perhaps you're still needing to get acclimated to the heat?  If you have been able to train in this weather historically, I wonder if you're just not used to it yet?  Maybe keep trying? 

Could you need more salt?  Have you tried playing with that a bit?

I have not trained to BQ on a treadmill, but I have trained for Boston on a treadmill.  One of the years I did Boston the winter was just brutal, and it seemed that every weekend there was a blizzard and 40+mph winds, so I did a lot of my long runs on the dreadmill, including all of my longest ones, which that year were 22, 24, 26, 28, 24. That sucked. I didn't hit my goal time at Boston that year, but I wasn't too far off.  What I didn't do, but I would if I had to do it over again, would be to put the treadmill at a 1% grade for those long runs. 

Maybe you could do some super early runs too?  There's something extra awesome about being on mile 20 when the sun comes up:)

2013-06-10 8:50 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
around this parts 7AM is a late start.  Slow down even more then you think you should.  Give your body time to adjust to the heat, it will.  Last time I trained for a marathon through the summer in Tucson I started while it was still dark.  Wear a headlamp if you need to
2013-06-10 9:09 AM
in reply to: bzgl40

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Just try to remember when you are training in the heat.......training in the heat is something you have to practice, just like running itself. You will not perform on a hot day if you don't train on hot days. It is a training category all in itself.
2013-06-10 11:25 AM
in reply to: topolina

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Christine Clark won the women's olympic marathon trials (for the Syndy games) after training almost exclusively on the treadmil. It was a Feb race, and she lived in Alaska....so serious training outside was a problem for her.



2013-06-10 11:30 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Originally posted by switch

A couple thoughts.

It is still early in the hot season.  Perhaps you're still needing to get acclimated to the heat?  If you have been able to train in this weather historically, I wonder if you're just not used to it yet?  Maybe keep trying? 

Could you need more salt?  Have you tried playing with that a bit?

I have not trained to BQ on a treadmill, but I have trained for Boston on a treadmill.  One of the years I did Boston the winter was just brutal, and it seemed that every weekend there was a blizzard and 40+mph winds, so I did a lot of my long runs on the dreadmill, including all of my longest ones, which that year were 22, 24, 26, 28, 24. That sucked. I didn't hit my goal time at Boston that year, but I wasn't too far off.  What I didn't do, but I would if I had to do it over again, would be to put the treadmill at a 1% grade for those long runs. 

Maybe you could do some super early runs too?  There's something extra awesome about being on mile 20 when the sun comes up

I'm not in training for a marathon yet (I will start in March) but I also have the same problem with huimdity. May try the salt route to see if that makes a difference.  I also had a hard time yesterday on my run.  I just keep plugging along.  If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger.

2013-06-11 6:23 AM
in reply to: BAMBAM66

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Thanks all. Just to comment on the earlier starts recommendations and adjustment time to hot weather. I live in Key West. It is always hot and humid (compared to most other places), although the "winter" is about 5 to 10 degrees cooler and a bit lower humidity. Also, as I touched on a bit, the early a.m. hours this time of year would only be about 2 degrees cooler than starting a 7 am and the humidity would be higher before the sun comes up. So, although I can try leaving earlier, I don't think that will do it for me. I am just frustrated because I have always been good in the heat, trained for my first marathon in Oklahoma running at noon in the summer time (anyone that lives in OK or Texas knows what I am talking about). Anyway, I may not be taking in enough salt in my daily diet, as I wasn't raised in a salt favoring household, so it isn't something I use much and I don't eat salty snacks. So it is off my radar. I have been more conscientious lately though about adding a bit more. I'll try adding more. But, if all else fails, I'll take it inside.
2013-06-11 8:10 AM
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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
I train in Houston. This morning at 5am when we ran it was 80 degrees and 97% humidity. Sweating is ineffective at cooling the body at those humidity levels. All you can do is back off pace. You are going to sweat heavily ... so you can't push the pace.

My coping with the heat/humidty includes ... starting earlier (we have a saying that a good run ends when the sun comes up) ... ease off the pace. After a long run I stand in mud boots with cool water and ice to quickly cool down my blood and body temp. I also eat canned soup every evening to help replenish the salt I am sweating out every morning. I take electrolytes and mineral supplements daily. Minimal amounts of caffeine and avoid cinnamon.

I drink when I am thirsty throughout the day. I line the empty water bottles (16 oz) on the counter during the day. Right now ... they are usually 8 or 10 of them by the end of the day. All you can do is stay hydrated.

I have qualified for Boston again. As oppressive as running is in this heat/humidity ... I do not run on a treadmill. I do not enjoy running on them.

Edited by CPA_PFS 2013-06-11 8:12 AM
2013-06-11 8:13 AM
in reply to: topolina

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
I trained all last summer for the MCM in October, and VA is hot and humid. A few things that helped:

1. Go early. It's not just the temp and relative humidity, but the effect of the sun beating down on you, especially since shady routes are at a premium in the Keys.
2. Don't underestimate the amount of hydration that you will need. Hide a bottle (I don't like that) or design a route that loops past your door where you can get more water. I leave an extra bottle on my front step, or in a cooler in the bed of my truck if I am not home.
3. If the race will be hot, then train hot. It can be learned.

A good friend of mine, and one of the reasons that I tried a marathon, missed her BQ by 1 min after training exclusively on a treadmill. The minute lost wasn't from poor training, it was the time she spent in a porty potty while on the course. So it can be done. Not by me; I would be suicidal trying anything longer than an hour on the "dreadmill."

Good luck!
2013-06-11 9:40 AM
in reply to: topolina

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Originally posted by topolinaThanks all. Just to comment on the earlier starts recommendations and adjustment time to hot weather. I live in Key West. It is always hot and humid (compared to most other places), although the "winter" is about 5 to 10 degrees cooler and a bit lower humidity. Also, as I touched on a bit, the early a.m. hours this time of year would only be about 2 degrees cooler than starting a 7 am and the humidity would be higher before the sun comes up. So, although I can try leaving earlier, I don't think that will do it for me. I am just frustrated because I have always been good in the heat, trained for my first marathon in Oklahoma running at noon in the summer time (anyone that lives in OK or Texas knows what I am talking about). Anyway, I may not be taking in enough salt in my daily diet, as I wasn't raised in a salt favoring household, so it isn't something I use much and I don't eat salty snacks. So it is off my radar. I have been more conscientious lately though about adding a bit more. I'll try adding more. But, if all else fails, I'll take it inside.
While the humidity won't be less if you get out before the sun comes up, the lack of us makes the run much "easier". As far as salt goes, if you eat any type of processed food you are getting a ton of salt in your diet. I'm not saying that you don't need more - maybe you are a heavy salt sweater, but it may just be the need for more water, an earlier start and a bit of acclimation. Good luck!


2013-06-11 2:31 PM
in reply to: amd723

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Originally posted by amd723
While the humidity won't be less if you get out before the sun comes up, the lack of us makes the run much "easier". As far as salt goes, if you eat any type of processed food you are getting a ton of salt in your diet. I'm not saying that you don't need more - maybe you are a heavy salt sweater, but it may just be the need for more water, an earlier start and a bit of acclimation. Good luck!


Unfortunately (at least from a salt level perspective) I don't eat any processed foods, or almost none. I am a vegetarian and an obsessively healthy eater. I appreciate the advice from all and I will take it and run with it. :-)

CPS-PFS I have to ask about the cinnamon though. What is that about? I have cinnamon everyday because of blood sugar benefits and I love it. Don't tell me cinnamon is a diuretic and I didn't know it. Maybe that is why I sweat so much. Sheesh.
2013-06-12 10:35 AM
in reply to: topolina

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Things you can try
1-As mentioned get out earlier before the sun comes out.  I have lived in FL for years and I agree about it not being that much cooler at 4-5am vs 7 am but not having the sun come up during your run does help
2-You said you are a 59 year old female.  Any change some of this is changes of menopause?
3-Try Lava salts electrolyte tablets.  They also make a powder that is flavorless to mix with water
4-You could try pre-cooling.....drinking an ice slushie before you start your run.  I am not sure how long the effects of the pre-cooling last but I am a super salty sweater and I sweat a LOT and this is something my coach and I have talked about trying
5-Freeze you drink bottles or fill with ice before adding the liquid.  Run a loop and circle back to change them out.  Holding the frozen bottle will help keep you cool
2013-06-13 6:08 AM
in reply to: Socks

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Originally posted by Socks

Things you can try
1-As mentioned get out earlier before the sun comes out.  I have lived in FL for years and I agree about it not being that much cooler at 4-5am vs 7 am but not having the sun come up during your run does help
2-You said you are a 59 year old female.  Any change some of this is changes of menopause?
3-Try Lava salts electrolyte tablets.  They also make a powder that is flavorless to mix with water
4-You could try pre-cooling.....drinking an ice slushie before you start your run.  I am not sure how long the effects of the pre-cooling last but I am a super salty sweater and I sweat a LOT and this is something my coach and I have talked about trying
5-Freeze you drink bottles or fill with ice before adding the liquid.  Run a loop and circle back to change them out.  Holding the frozen bottle will help keep you cool


For fear of oversharing, I think you might have hit the nail on the head with number 2. I haven't wanted to admit it, but there clearly has been a big change in my fitness and my ability to handle heat, and I have crossed over to the other side of the female life-cycle as it were. So, that may very well be a major part of my problem. I can't do much about that though other than get in my time machine, so I will experiment with the other great suggestions that I have received.
2013-06-13 8:12 AM
in reply to: topolina


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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Originally posted by topolina

CPS-PFS I have to ask about the cinnamon though. What is that about? I have cinnamon everyday because of blood sugar benefits and I love it. Don't tell me cinnamon is a diuretic and I didn't know it. Maybe that is why I sweat so much. Sheesh.



Google "cinnamon and sweating" and you will find lots of info.

Cinnamon is heart healthy. Cinnamon is good for cholesterol. Cinnamon raises your metabolism.

But ... it raises your metabolism by raising your body temp.

Cinnamon is not recommended for pregnant women because it causes premature birth. It is not recommended for women in menopause because it causes night sweats. It is not recommended for anyone with a fever because it increases the fever.

A tablespoon of cinnamon will cause your body temp to be higher for about 3 weeks. That is why I avoid it when it is hot & humid outside. It raises your body temp and causes you to sweat even more trying to cool yourself.

It is like so much of life. It has certain good benefits but it also has bad side effects.
2013-06-13 9:23 AM
in reply to: topolina

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
are you taking any gels or calories in on the run? That might have something to do with it too. Nuun alone might not be enough for the distances you are talking about depending on your speed. as a female at 59, your qualifying time is 4:10 so I guess you are doing your long runs between 10 and 11 mpm? that is around my speed. In the summer, I need to start taking in calories for anything longer than 6 or 7 miles.


2013-06-14 7:53 AM
in reply to: CPA_PFS

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Originally posted by CPA_PFS

Originally posted by topolina

CPS-PFS I have to ask about the cinnamon though. What is that about? I have cinnamon everyday because of blood sugar benefits and I love it. Don't tell me cinnamon is a diuretic and I didn't know it. Maybe that is why I sweat so much. Sheesh.



Google "cinnamon and sweating" and you will find lots of info.

Cinnamon is heart healthy. Cinnamon is good for cholesterol. Cinnamon raises your metabolism.

But ... it raises your metabolism by raising your body temp.

Cinnamon is not recommended for pregnant women because it causes premature birth. It is not recommended for women in menopause because it causes night sweats. It is not recommended for anyone with a fever because it increases the fever.

A tablespoon of cinnamon will cause your body temp to be higher for about 3 weeks. That is why I avoid it when it is hot & humid outside. It raises your body temp and causes you to sweat even more trying to cool yourself.

It is like so much of life. It has certain good benefits but it also has bad side effects.


Sheesh, that might account for why I am always so HOT and have night sweats every night. Well, OK, I am sure it is not the ONLY reason, but I guess it isn't helping either.
2013-06-14 7:58 AM
in reply to: Daffodil

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Originally posted by Daffodil

are you taking any gels or calories in on the run? That might have something to do with it too. Nuun alone might not be enough for the distances you are talking about depending on your speed. as a female at 59, your qualifying time is 4:10 so I guess you are doing your long runs between 10 and 11 mpm? that is around my speed. In the summer, I need to start taking in calories for anything longer than 6 or 7 miles.


I haven't been taking gels, but I did think about switching to perpetuem instead of nuun, or drinking it with my banana before the run and then taking my nuun on the run.

I do train on the long runs about the speed you mentioned, but I am trying to BQ at the next age group up since I will be 60 by the next Boston. That means a higher qualifying time
2013-06-14 8:03 AM
in reply to: topolina

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
first thought... slow down. When it heats up in East TN I have to slow down a LOT for the first month or so.
2013-06-14 8:49 AM
in reply to: topolina

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Subject: RE: Marathon Training in Hot/Humid weather
Not a doctor but....since you mentioned you used to be more tolerant of the heat, it reminded me of some issues my mom had. She had a similar decline in her ability to deal with heat when hiking and cycling and discovered it had to do with thyroid function (too high a dose of meds for an underactive thyroid--I think). So apparently thyroid issues can affect heat tolerance. It could be something to check out.
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