Studies over the years have found that training in the heat increases an athlete's cardiovascular fitness because their blood plasma is increased, along with increasing skeletal muscle force! Have you ever realized how you run better and faster in the cool mornings?
There are many benefits to training in the heat, however, here's 4 of them that we find most beneficial to you!
You race and train better in cooler conditions
Have you ever wanted to find out the reasons why some of our national athletes, or even your running kakis venture overseas to race? Research has shown that the optimal race temperatures for runners would be in the range of 3 to 6 degrees celcius. That is why Soh Rui Yong, who recently qualified for the SEA Games Marathon in Kuala Lumpur recently, raced the Marugame Half Marathon in Japan as a performance test as temperatures fell in the above stated range. Additionally, you may have heard of some of your peers who travel to Gold Coast, Australia, just to run the Gold Coast Airport Marathon every July and come back with their Personal Best timings in pieces. This is because alongside with the cool morning temperatures, the entirety of the course is flat and is heralded as a PB course by runners internationally!
Running in Singapore can be demoralising when you have to deal with the heat, but come race day in cool temperatures, you will wonder why you ever worried in the first place, and smash that PB that has been eluding you for a long time.
You build necessary mental strength
Sure, it can get extremely hot and it feels like you are in a sauna. However, when you control the pace and run for a determined period of time, you tend to build mental strength which you might be lacking.
When you make it through a run made tougher by the heat, you know you can draw on that strength and confidence you have built when it comes to race day. The going might get tough or hot during the race, but you have been through this and nothing can faze you.
You have an excuse to slow down the pace on hot days
Running at your usual easy pace in the heat feels like your 5K or 10K race pace, but that's alright becvause studies have shown that with every 3 degree rise above 15 degrees celcius, your pace slows down by up to 20 to 30 seconds per kilometre! So fret not, and start than planned. Run by your perceived effort and don't let your watch dictate your training when running in the heat. Pace is not a perfect indicator of how your body is feeling given the additional stress put on you by the heat, and can be detrimental to your morale when the tough gets going.
Focus on finishing strong no matter how slow you go, because at the end of it, it builds mental strength as well!
You get a nice tan!
Lastly, training in the heat means you don't have to head to the beach or swimming pool to get that tan you have always wanted! However, please remember the necessary sun protection gear like your shades, a cap, arm sleeves when necessary, and also most importantly, sunscreen! Getting a daily dose of Vitamin D is good, but obtaining skin cancer in the process is a no go.
Although heat acclimation may actually be better than altitude training, it is good to be mindful that runing in the heat is extremely difficult and usually replaces a hard day. Listen to your body and use it carefully and in moderation, because sometimes, less is more.
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Don’t know what’re the benefits? Fret not. Find out here