Marathon Training In The Heat – How To Survive

People who train for long-distance events put their bodies through a lot of fatigue on daily basis. However, what makes marathon training in the heat particularly challenging is that besides training stress there is also environmental stress that athletes need to account for.

Heat adds additional factor to consider when planning your training schedule. The intensity endurance athletes can sustain on a hot day will differ from any other day. So, it’s a good idea to plan for it in advance.

A great way to navigate heat and other environmental factors (i.e. humidity) is to train using heart rate method. It reflects what actually happens with the body and allows athletes to tune up (or down) their training program to get the best results on a given day.

Marathon training in the heat

One of the most important things to remember about exercising in the heat is that the body goes through more stress than usual. Besides the stress of training intensity there is also environmental stress. When it’s hot outside our body works extra hard to cool itself down and move the energy & water from organs and working muscles towards sweating.

As a result, what usually feels easy might feel moderate or even hard on a hot day. And that’s ok – with good pacing you can still trigger the same training effect. More on that in the video:

Staying hydrated during a heat wave

One important thing I didn’t mention in the video is hydration. Don’t forget to drink enough water and remember that with sweat we also lose precious minerals called electrolytes – sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. These help to ensure the optimal functioning of the body.

Sodium, in particular, is critical for marathon training in the heat. It helps the body to take water from the gut and move it to the working muscles. So, on a hot day it’s not enough to re-hydrate just with water alone – once our sodium reserves run low water we consume will start to pass through our system without reaching our muscles. Which will result in premature fatigue. This is one the mistakes people make when running a marathon in warm weather.

An easy trick to mitigate this risk is to add salt and lemon to your water. Or use salt tablets instead.

Read also: Running In Jakarta On A Car Free Day – Hot, Tough, But Fun

Week 5 of marathon training

As I get further into the training program I focus more on running than bike riding. This week I did most of my runs on the beach to reduce the impact on the body. Running on soft surface meant I put less impact on the body, which helped to manage muscle breakdown and overall fatigue as I increase the weekly run distance. Jumping into the cold Baltic Sea after the session helped with muscle recovery as well.

Here’s my training schedule for the week

  • Mon: off
  • Tue: 30min run – Z2
  • Wed: 30min run – Z2
  • Thu: 30min run – Z2 (fasted)
  • Fri: 30min run – Z2, incl. drills
  • Sat: 1h run – Z2, incl. 2x2K at Z3
  • Sun: 1h run – Z2

If you are looking for a coach, a tailored training program or someone to guide you through the process of training, do reach out for coaching with me via this link.

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