• CARAruns

Marathon Ready - Heat Adjusted Pace & Day-Of Tips

While we can't control all aspects of race day, there are many ways we can make sure we have the best possible race for that day's conditions! It, of course, can be frustrating and disappointing to have to adjust your goals last minute but it is part of the “game” and if you run smart and lean into the challenge of the conditions, the race can be even more rewarding.

A few pointers for this weekend:

Use a heat-adjusted pace: This is your best weapon against warmer conditions. The warmer the day and the later you start, the more of an adjustment should be made. While there are certainly plenty of ways to calculate and adjust for heat, the first step is to actually make the shift both physically and mentally to accept the conditions and make a calculated adjustment.

Just like a pitcher accounting for the wind at Wrigley Field or Justin Fields calling an audible at the line of scrimmage, you want to understand the conditions and embrace the strategic challenge versus just throw a “hail mary” and hope for the best. Generally, in 70-80 degrees conditions you are looking at a “ballpark” figure of a 5% adjustment.

For example, a 9:00 minute per mile pace would be adjusted to 9:27 per mile pace. The change in pace allows for the effort to be better aligned with the conditions on the day.

Examples of a 5% pace adjustment are listed below:

6:00 pace per mile: 5% slower = 6:18 pace per mile

6:30 pace per mile: 5% slower = 6:50 pace per mile

7:00 pace per mile: 5% slower = 7:21 pace per mile

7:30 pace per mile: 5% slower = 7:52 pace per mile

8:00 pace per mile: 5% slower = 8:24 pace per mile

8:30 pace per mile: 5% slower = 8:55 pace per mile

9:00 pace per mile: 5% slower = 9:27 pace per mile

9:30 pace per mile: 5% slower = 9:58 pace per mile

10:00 pace per mile: 5% slower = 10:30 pace per mile

10:30 pace per mile: 5% slower = 11:01 pace per mile

11:00 pace per mile: 5% slower = 11:33 pace per mile

11:30 pace per mile: 5% slower = 12:04 pace per mile

12:00 pace per mile: 5% slower = 12:36 pace per mile

· 12+ pace per mile: 5% slower = 12:36 pace per mile to 13:39 pace per mile

Additional tips include...

Hydrate well: Drink plenty of water, but also make sure you are also including plenty of electrolytes. For more specific tips on hydrating, check out this blog from Allison Koch, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN.

Listen to your body: Your body will tell you how you are doing and if you are staying cool enough or starting to overheat. Also, take into account that core temperatures hit a tipping point, so one mile you can be fine and the next you can experience signs of overheating.


No matter what challenges the day brings, be grateful for the opportunity and experience. No weather factor can damper or stifle the spirit of the marathon and all the amazing runners, volunteers, spectators that make it a truly special day! Good luck and godspeed from CARA!

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