Adjusting a Training Plan for: Temperatures!

This summer in DC is proving to be very temperamental; last week, my morning runs were spoiled with 60-70* temperatures and my legs happily adjusted to give me faster splits, finishing less than exhausted on most days.  Yesterday, I checked the weekly forecast to see if my Speedwork would be doable today. Verdict (Tuesday – Thursday): 101*, 99*, 91*. People, it’s hot out there.

I quickly rejected the idea of testing my limits this morning. I met Kate at our usual spot, and we finished 6.85 miles  with an average  ~8:30 pace (including my warm-up/cool down). According to a short feature in the August Runner’s World, every 5* above 60 can affect your pace by 20-30 seconds per mile. I believe it!


Every training cycle presents you with moments when what’s “on the schedule” just does not fit with what’s on your agenda. I knew that training during the summer would be a challenge; I have to be flexible, smart, and willing to come home looking like I went for a swim, rather than a run.

Adjusting the Plan: With the above mentioned forecast, I know that my Speedwork won’t feel as great (and/or speedy) as it did last week. Instead, I’ll do a few tempo miles in my weekly runs to “feel” the pace, and listen to my body when it “feels” like it’s approaching a slow death. Heat stroke, you will not defeat me!

Runner’s World offers some tips to “Beat the Heat”; in my opinion, the two more important things you can do are Hydrate (and then hydrate some more!) and pay attention to your body. If you feel nauseous, light headed, or completely fatigued, take things down a notch and know that one slower mile, or one shorter run, won’t destroy your fitness level.


This weekend we’re traveling to New Mexico for a special occassion. The test will be: DC summer vs Dry-desert summer. A 12-miler is my contender.


On a side note: today is the last day to enter the IronGirl & Fitness Magazine Giveaway! It includes all kinds of training gear and FREE ENTRANCE to one of their events!



Filed under DC, doin things My way, early morning, making plans, running buddy, training

10 responses to “Adjusting a Training Plan for: Temperatures!

  1. Yesterday I decided I wanted to sleep in a little on my day off … so I didn’t start running until 10:30. Ugh, too late! I started out OK but ended up slowing down and taking frequent walk breaks. Near the halfway point I stopped at a restroom to splash some cold water on my face.

    Six slow miles, and I was pretty wiped out for the rest of the day! But I was still happy that I got out there 🙂

  2. Runner’s World says the most confusing things (to me anyway!). By their estimate, I could be running 3 minutes per mile slower. Hmmmm. Sometimes they take just a little bit of data and stretch it way out.

    The good information from them was exactly what you pointed out: hydrate, listen to your body. That is why they need someone like you on staff so they have an educated and informed magazine and not just silly entertainment.

  3. This is so true!!! I modified my expectations for my tempo run this morning given the weather we are having. I still managed to stay pretty close to my target without dying, so I’m thinking I should aim faster when things cool down.

    Good luck in New Mexico!!

  4. Wow that’s an interesting fact about every 5 degrees about 60 – I DEFINITELY believe it! 40-50 degrees is definitely my perfect running weather, I miss it.

  5. my ride yesterday was super slow and felt like a swim….and i’m constantly surprised by how much water/nuun I can drink and not feel water-logged. I’m sweating it right back out! nice run on a HOT morning!

  6. Proud of you for sticking to the plan, sometimes it seems too hard to follow the schedule. Your pace is improving and it’s terrific to watch you continuously get better:)

  7. Yeah, the temps are rising this week in OR (although not nearly as humid as you guys have it) so I might have to wake up a bit early to do some morning runs. Or even go out at lunch bc it’s cooler then rather than at 5pm.

  8. I just got back from Las Vegas where the temps are the same as Houston, but the heat is dry instead of humid. Be sure you drink even if you aren’t sweating. I didn’t run, but walked outside, and I didn’t sweat near what I sweat in humidity. Don’t know which is worse, but I am ready for Fall!

  9. J

    Good luck with the 12 miler in New Mexico! It will be interesting to hear about the differences.

    I read that RW’s about the pace. It really is crazy how the temps can affect you!

  10. I definitely learned this first hand yesterday!! My 6 miler turned into a much slower 4 when I started to feel uber dehydrated. Now I’m definitely going for morning, semi-cooler runs 🙂

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